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Karol Divín

Karol Divín

Karol "Karcsi" Emil Divín (born Karol Finster; 22 February 1936 – 6 April 2022) was a Slovak figure skater who represented Czechoslovakia. He was the 1960 Olympic silver medalist, a two-time European champion (1958–59), and a two-time World medalist (silver in 1962, bronze in 1964).

Karol Divín
Divín in 1964
Personal information
Full nameKarol Emil Divín
Alternative namesFinster
Country representedCzechoslovakia
Born(1936-02-22)22 February 1936
Budapest, Hungary
Died6 April 2022(2022-04-06) (aged 86)
Former coachIvan Mauer
Anton Divín

Early life

Divín was born 22 February 1936 in Budapest.[1] His mother, Irma, was Czech, his father, Anton Finster, a Hungarian of German descent, and one of his grandmothers a Slovak.[2][3] After World War II, the family adopted his grandmother's surname, Divín.[2] They moved to Bratislava, Czechoslovakia, in 1946.[3] In early childhood, Divín was interested in soccer and tennis.


Divín was introduced to figure skating by his father, who was also his first coach.[2]

At the 1954 European Championships in Bolzano, Italy, Divín stepped onto a major international podium for the first time, taking the bronze medal. He placed fifth at the 1956 Winter Olympics in Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy.

Following three consecutive years as the European bronze medalist, he won the silver medal at the 1957 European Championships in Vienna, Austria.

Divín won gold at the 1958 European Championships in Bratislava and defended his European title at the 1959 European Championships in Davos, Switzerland. Ivan Mauer became his coach in 1959.[3]

In preparation for the Olympics, Divín practiced a triple loop but tore a muscle and was forced to withdraw from the 1960 European championships.[2] He was sent to the 1960 Winter Olympics after promising that he would finish the competition.[2] Placing second to American David Jenkins and ahead of Canada's Donald Jackson, he won the silver medal in Squaw Valley, California.

Divín won silver at the 1962 European Championships in Geneva, Switzerland, and at the 1962 World Championships in Prague, Czechoslovakia. He was the bronze medalist at the 1964 European Championships in Grenoble, France, and placed fourth at the 1964 Winter Olympics in Innsbruck, Austria.[4] He retired from competition after winning the bronze medal at the 1964 World Championships in Dortmund, Germany.

After ending his competitive career, Divín began coaching in Finland.[5] He was later for many years based in North Bay, Ontario, Canada. He coached Dough Leigh in the late 1960s and worked with Brian Orser on compulsory figures from 1983 to 1987. In the 2000s, he worked with Michal Březina in Brno.

Personal life

In the 1960s, Divín married Olga Reinišová, a Czech pair skater. They had a son, Peter, who lives in Surrey, British Columbia, Canada, with his wife, Outi, and four children Benjamin, Stephanie, Martina, and Jack. In 1984, Divín married his second wife, Mirka.[3] From this marriage, he has two stepdaughters, Renata, who lives in Brno, and Jana, who lives in Congers, NY, USA. He alternated his residency between Surrey and Brno, Czechia. He died on 6 April 2022.[6]


Event 1954 1955 1956 1957 1958 1959 1960 1961 1962 1963 1964
WD = Withdrew


  1. "Register olympionikov zo Slovenska" [List of Olympians from Slovakia] (PDF) (in Slovak). Slovak Olympic Committee. p. 28. Archived from the original (PDF) on 5 July 2016. Retrieved 31 May 2014.
  2. "Medaila mi zmenila kariéru. Aj život" [Career-changing medals]. (in Slovak). 7 February 2014.
  3. Rencz, Štefan. "Karol Divín" (in Czech).
  4. "Karol Divín". Archived from the original on 18 April 2020.
  5. "Karol Divín (nar. 16.02.1936): Hvězda československého krasobruslení" [Karol Divín (born 16 February 1936): Star of Czechoslovak figure skating] (in Czech). Životopisy Online. 25 May 2008.
  6. Zemřel elegán na ledě! Stříbrnému olympionikovi Divínovi bylo 86 let (in Czech)
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