Ondrej Nepela began skating as a child, and competed at the 1964 Winter Olympics at age 13. Within a decade, he had won all figure skating titles available. An eight-time Czechoslovakian champion, he first medalled at the 1966 European Championships, moving up to the highest step of the rostrum in 1969 after three bronzes. Nepela retained this title until his retirement in 1973, winning it five times. At the World Championships, he lost twice to Tim Wood before grabbing his first world title in 1971. Nepela won twice more, in 1972 and, in the final tournament of his career, in 1973 in his home town Bratislava. He also won at the Sapporo Olympics, by merit of his excellent compulsory figures. He was Czechoslovakia's last Olympic Champion in the Winter Games, twenty years before the country was dissolved into the Czech Republic and Slovakia. From 1974 on, Nepela toured with Holiday on Ice and coached other skaters, helping Claudia Leistner to a European title in 1989. Later that year, Nepela, who was gay and supposedly had a romance with Toller Cranston during the 1973 World Championships, died of AIDS-related illness. Since 1993, he is remembered with the annual Ondrej Nepela Memorial in Bratislava.