also Zanová, married name: Steindler, was a Czech figure skater who represented Czechoslovakia in competition. Vrzáňová is the 1949 & 1950 World champion and 1950 European champion. Vrzáňová was born in Prague, Czechoslovakia in 1931. In addition to figure skating, she also played piano and attended ballet school.
After spending the winter of 1949 at home in Czechoslovakia, her father advised her not to come back from the upcoming World Championships and she agreed. She defected from Czechoslovakia during the 1950 World Championships in London and was eventually offered political asylum. Her mother followed her in March under dramatic circumstances – her plane was hijacked. Her father, a professional cello player, visited them several times, but decided not to leave his country permanently. His daughter did not return to Prague until 1990.
In 1969, Vrzáňová married Czech-born innkeeper Pavel Steindler; they adopted two children. They ran the Duck Joint restaurant in New York City, and later the Czech Pavilion. She died suddenly on 30 July 2015 at the age of 84 while in exile. Vrzáňová started sports at the age of three when her parents bought her skis. They spent each winter in the Krkonoše mountains. This tradition was interrupted during the Second World War, and then Vrzáňová started figure skating. The conditions for training were difficult, as she had to train in early winter mornings. Her training sessions were held in darkness because of the dim-out regulations. The sessions took place in the open Štvanice Stadium before the sessions for hockey players, or in the CLTK club tennis courts, which were flooded with water and frozen. Following her competitive career, Vrzáňová moved to the United States and performed for the traveling show Ice Follies for three years under the name "Aja Zanova" then joined the Ice Capades. She also participated in television ads and other shows.
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