Ivana Trump’s Unexpected Talent that Helped her Escape Communist Czechoslovakia


Ivana TrumpShe is most famous for her beauty and style, as well the fact that she was President. Donald Trump’sFirst wife and first mother Donald, Jr, IvankaAnd Eric. Yet it wasn’t her sense of fashion that brought her to the West in the 1970s, escaping the communist rule in her native Czechoslovakia. She was first attracted to skiing, and that is what set her on the path to becoming the former president. 

Early Days in the Mountains

Ivana was born Ivana Zelníčková in the town of Zlín, now located on the eastern edge of the Czech Republic. She began skiing competitively when she was four years old. Soon she was competent enough to travel around Europe and the globe with the National junior ski team. Some reports suggest that she was an alternate member of the Czechoslovakian Olympic Team in 1972. However, this claim was later refuted by the national team in 1989.

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What isn’t disputed though is that skiing is what brought her to her first husband, an Austrian ski instructor named Alfred Winklmayr, whom she married in 1971. Winklmayr provided her with an Austrian passport that allowed her to leave Communist Czechoslovakia. This was something very rare during the Cold War. Winklmayr and Ivana split just one year after he moved from Prague to Los Angeles. 

Skiing Continued To Play A Role 

Ivana was reunited with George Syrovatka, an old friend who had fled to Canada in 1971. Soon Ivana was working as a ski instructor in Quebec with Syrovatka. She began modeling while she was skiing. While she wasn’t a competitive skier in the 1976 Olympics, she did work as a model in promotional material for the Montreal games. 

In 1976, she was part of a group that traveled to New York City with models. She met Donald Trump in 1976. They would be married a year later. Eric would join the family in 1984 and Ivanka would be there in 1981. The two divorced in the 1990s, but that’s a story for a different day.

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