Early Years and Athletic Talent
Ivana Trump, born Ivana Marie Zelnickova in 1949 in Czechoslovakia, wasn’t just the ex-wife of Donald Trump but a talented athlete from a young age. Growing up in a time of flattened social hierarchies, her parents noticed her athletic abilities early on, especially in skiing. Competing since the age of 6, Ivana was already engaged in a national training program by the time she turned 12.
Ambition and International Pursuits
Ivana’s passion for skiing didn’t confine her to her hometown. Seeking a broader horizon, she left for Prague to attend college. Her athletic prowess allowed her to travel to places like Italy and Austria. According to her mother, Ivana was ambitious and never content with staying in one place. Her father, supportive of her dreams, treated her without the constraints of gender norms. Eventually, Ivana earned a degree in physical education and proudly became a member of the Czechoslovakian ski team.
Marriage and Escape
In 1971, to overcome the restrictions of her home country, Ivana married Austrian skier Alfred Winklmayr. Acquiring an Austrian passport, she successfully left Czechoslovakia. The couple moved to Canada, working as ski coaches. Unfortunately, the marriage was short-lived, leading to their divorce in 1973.
From Skier to Model
Transitioning from her skiing career, Ivana ventured into modeling in the 1970s. Collaborating with various clients, she worked for Auckie Sanft of Montreal and Eaton’s department store. Her modeling career took her to New York in 1976, where she played a role in promoting the upcoming Olympic Games in Montreal. It was during this time that she crossed paths with the man who would later become her husband, Donald Trump.
Love on the Slopes
The love story between Ivana and Donald Trump took an unexpected turn when he took her skiing in Aspen. Unaware of her skiing prowess, Donald was surprised when Ivana, initially pretending to be a beginner, revealed her exceptional skills on the slopes. The couple married in 1977, less than a year after their first meeting.
Debunking Olympic Claims
Contrary to Donald Trump’s claim in “The Art of the Deal” that Ivana was an alternate for the Czechoslovakian ski team in the 1972 Winter Olympics, Olympic officials have since disproved this assertion. While Ivana was undoubtedly a competitive skier during her youth, she never participated in the Olympics.
Ivana Trump’s journey from a small town in Czechoslovakia to the glamorous world of modeling and marriage with Donald Trump is a tale of talent, ambition, and unexpected twists on the slopes. Her athletic achievements, though not on the Olympic stage, remain an integral part of her fascinating life story.