and Renata Jiranek
Michael and Renata Jiranek came to Canada from Czechoslovakia in 1968, refugees of the Russian invasion of their country. Michael was studying to be an engineer; Renata had planned to be a doctor. They met at a dance club, and were competing at a ballroom dance competition in Munich when they defected. Their love of music and choreography led them to figure-skating. He coached the technical precision of the jumps, she coached artistic interpretation.
Today, they raise cattle near Red Deer Lake, Alberta, and drive to Edmonton to coach skaters at the Royal Glenora Club. Their students come from across the prairies, farm kids like Kurt Browning, a twelve-year-old from Caroline, Alberta, who Michael Jiranek turned into a four-time world champion.
The Jiraneks teach hard work and discipline, but also the artistic freedom they have sought so hard to find in their own lives. These are values they never take for granted. The Jiraneks have two sons Martin and Alex.