Croatia On The Top Of The World

CROATIA AT 2016 OLYMPICS OLYMPIC GOLD Josip Glasnovic (shooting) Valent & Martin Sinkovic (rowing) Sime Fantela & Igor Marenic (sailing) Sara Kolak (javelin) Sandra Perković (discus) OLYMPIC SILVER Men’s Water Polo Damir Martin (rowing) Tonci Stipanovic (sailing) OLYMPIC BRONZE Blanka Vlasic (high jump) Filip Hrgovic (boxing)

Josip Glasnovic (shooting)
Valent & Martin Sinkovic (rowing)
Sime Fantela & Igor Marenic (sailing)
Sara Kolak (javelin)
Sandra Perkovic (discus)
Men’s Water Polo
Damir Martin (rowing)
Tonci Stipanovic (sailing)
Blanka Vlasic (high jump)
Filip Hrgovic (boxing)


Well, Croatia’s Olympic Games 2016 certainly surpassed my wildest dreams – the team doubled its medal count since my last article about it last week.  By the time Olympic competitions were finished Croatia had built up an impressive total of 10 medals: 5 Gold 3 Silver and 2 Bronze! Wow – using medals per capita as criteria this amazing number places Croatia on top of the world !

The 5 gold medals ranked Croatia 3rd in the world for gold medals per capita. Croatia’s performance was an impressive one for a nation of only 4.2 million people, leaving bigger nations like Canada, Greece, Argentina, Sweden, Poland and Turkey in their wake on the final medal table. When looking how Europe performed in Rio, Croatia finished 9th but 1st on medal per capita equation.
So, since my article last week on Olympic success these are the other fabulous Croats reveling in well-deserved glory.


Sime Fantela and Igor Marenic Photo: AFP

Sime Fantela and Igor Marenic
Photo: AFP

Thursday 18 August 2016 Croatia’s Sime Fantela and Igor Marenic won the men’s 470 gold. They went into the race with a 10-point lead and were never threatened, with their nearest rivals finishing behind them. Australia’s Matt Belcher and Will Ryan claimed silver, while Greece’s Panagiotis Mantis and Pavlos Kagialis took the bronze medal.


Sara Kolak Photo: Igor Kralj/Pixsell

Sara Kolak
Photo: Igor Kralj/Pixsell

It was Thursday 18 August 2016 also when Croatia’s Sara Kolak threw a personal best and national record to land an unexpected gold in the Rio 2016 Olympic women’s javelin final. The 21-year-old Croat, who also broke the national record in the qualifying rounds, clinched the title with her fourth attempt, throwing 66.18m to secure victory by 1.26m from South Africa’s Sunette Viljoen. The bronze went to Czech Republic’s Barbora Spotakova, the Beijing 2008 and London 2012 champion, who went into the competition harbouring dreams of becoming the first woman to win three consecutive gold medals in the same individual athletics event. A bronze medalist at the 2016 European Championships, Kolak was something of an outsider for gold, with most of the attention heading into the competition focused on the 35-year-old Spotakova’s attempt to make history. In the end, the Czech had to settle for bronze with a best throw of 64.80m, with Kolak emulating Sandra Perkovic in the women’s discus to win her country’s second track and field gold of Rio 2016.
It is a big surprise,” said the victorious Kolak. “It feels amazing. It’s what I have been working for my whole life. I am 21 and I’m an Olympic champion. I did everything I could and I am so proud of myself. When I woke up this morning I was ready for a fight, a fair fight like never before. I wanted to give it everything I had and show everyone that qualification meant little. I wanted more.”



Part of Croatia's Men's Waterpolo Team Photo: Getty Images/ Ryan Pierse

Part of Croatia’s
Men’s Water Polo Team
Photo: Getty Images/ Ryan Pierse



Croatia’s Water Polo Men team had some real talent at this year’s Olympic games: Josip PAVIC, Damir BURIC, Antonio PETKOVIC, Luka LONCAR, Maro JOKOVIC, Luka BUKIC, Andro BUSLJE, Sandro SUKNO, Andelo SETKA, Marko BIJAC, Ivan KRAPIC, Marko MACAN, Javier GARCIA GADEA. On Saturday 20 August 2016 Croatia played against Serbia in the race for Olympic gold. The two teams that face each other regularly and know each other inside, out, in Rio both got off to a slow start but tore through their opponents over the second half of the tournament to meet each other in yet another final. Serbia was the stronger side on Saturday. Croatia opened the third quarter with a goal by Damir Buric to narrow Serbia’s lead to 6-4, but things never really went Croatia’s way and despite the stars being against them the Croat champions came away with grand silver. What an amazing effort!

Blanka Vlasic

Blanka Vlasic

32-year-old Croatian Blanka Vlasic has claimed the bronze medal in the women’s high jump at the Rio Olympics on Saturday evening 20 August 2016. This particular bronze medal is more than a commendable accomplishment bearing in mind the horrific injury problems she has experienced in recent times. Vlasic had just returned from injury and has not had much competition this season, cleared 1.97 metres to come third in the final of the event at Rio. Wow! Blanka, who already has an Olympic silver medal (2008) and two World Championships (2007 & 2009), was one of only four jumpers to clear 1.97 metres. The Croatian cleared it on her second attempt to move into third place. Vlasic, like the rest of the four final jumpers, however was unable to clear the next level of 2.00 metres and had to settle for bronze. Gold medal went to Spain’s Ruth Beitia who jumped 1.97 on her first attempt, whilst Mirela Demireva from Bulgaria took out the silver.

Filip Hrgovic Photo: Croatian Olympic Committee

Filip Hrgovic
Photo: Croatian Olympic Committee

Croatian boxer Filip Hrgović won his quarterfinal match of the Olympic super-heavyweight boxing category on Tuesday August 16th 2016. He beat Leiner Eunice Pero in dying seconds of the second round knocking him out with a powerful right jab. Filip Hrgovic was close to getting to the finals of Olympic super-heavyweight boxing tournament, but in a tight match versus the World Champion Tony Yoka, the judges have decided that the Frenchman was better for a point (2:1). Earlier this year Hrgovic won gold at the European championship in Bulgaria becoming the second Croat to win a European boxing title and the first Croat to win gold since Mate Parlov, who won gold in 1971 and 1973. Filip Hrgovic is the first Croatian boxer who can boast to be the first Croat boxer winning an Olympic medal since Croatia’s declaration od independence a quarter of a century ago. And on that note an huge congratulations to the sports men and women of Croatia – what an exhilarating effort you’ve put in this time around. A world citizen indeed! Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb); B.A., M.A.Ps. (Syd)

Croatia: A Small Country – Big Olympic Sport Talents

Olympics 2016 Rio Opening ceremony Croatia team among best dressed

Olympics 2016 Rio
Opening ceremony
Croatia team among best dressed


Such a great buzz being able to say that having won 3 Gold and 2 Silver medals by day 13 of 2016 Olympic Games Croatia is Number 18 out of 206 countries competing and yet population wise it would probably be on the tail end of this count. What a fantastic achievement. So proud!

Sandra Perkovic 2016 Olympic Gold

Sandra Perkovic
2016 Olympic Gold

Croatia’s Sandra Perkovic flirted with disaster by fumbling the first two throws  before snatching gold in the women’s discus on Tuesday 16 August, successfully defending her 2012 London Games title. Hence, becoming only the second woman to successfully defend her Olympic discus title. In Rio, Perkovic appeared on edge but dug deep to hurl her third effort 69.21 meters and retain her crown, winning by 2.48 meters ahead of rivals who never looked like matching her.

Martin and Valent Sinkovic 2016 Olympic Gold

Martin and Valent Sinkovic
2016 Olympic Gold

Croatian brothers Martin and Valent Sinkovic secured a gold medal in the men’s double sculls final in the Olympic rowing regatta on Thursday 11 August 2016, in a tough duel that saw them battling Lithuania’s boat neck-and-neck for much of the race.

After taking an early lead and holding Lithuania’s Mindaugas Griskonis and Saulius Ritter to the second-place spot through the 1000-meter mark, Croatia slipped back into second place in the third-quarter. Lithuanian fans in the stands at Rodrigo de Freitas Lagoon cheered wildly as the two boats battled for gold through the final half of the race.

Ultimately, Croatia won in a time of 6:50.28, Lithuania claimed silver in 6:51.39 and Norway took bronze.

Josip Glasnovic 2016 Olympic Gold

Josip Glasnovic
2016 Olympic Gold


It was Monday 8 August 2016 when Croatia’s Josip Glasnovic captured gold in men’s trap at the Rio Olympics after defeating Italy’s Giovanni Pellielo in a sudden death final match that went to a shoot-off. Glasnovic and Pellielo went back and forth throughout the gold medal match until they both finished with 13 out of 15. In the fourth round of the sudden death shootout, Pellielo missed and Glasnovic followed up with a hit to win his first Olympic medal. Shooting first, Pellielo actually missed on his fourth shot. Glasnovic calmly hit his fourth and triumphantly raised his gun in the air as pink dust from the target blew in the gusting wind.


Though Glasnovic had found modest success in World Shooting Championships and European Shotgun Championships, his best finish was fifth place in the event, and he didn’t compete in the 2012 London Games. He was confident all afternoon though, being the only competitor in the semi-final at Rio to shoot a perfect 15 for 15.

This is the second consecutive gold medal for Croatia in men’s trap, as Giovanni Cernogoraz won in 2012 London games.

Damir Martin 2016 Olympic Silver

Damir Martin
2016 Olympic Silver

Croatian rower Damir Martin won the silver medal after finishing second in the final of the Men’s single sculls at Rodrigo de Freitas lagoon on Saturday 13 August 2016.

Martin, who cruised into the final after winning a qualifier and coming second in the semi-final, was beaten in a photo-finish by defending Olympic champion Mahe Drysdale from New Zealand. Czech Republic’s Ondřej Synek finished in third place.

The medal is another for Martin’s impressive collection. He already has an Olympic silver medal, two World Championship gold medals and a European Championship gold.

Tonci Stipanovic 2016 Olympic Silver

Tonci Stipanovic
2016 Olympic Silver

Tonci Stipanovic clinched Croatia’s maiden sailing medal on Saturday 13 August 2016 as he stood first overall after the opening-round races in the men’s Laser class.

“It’s still sinking in, this first medal, this was the best day on all five days of racing,” Stipanovic, who finished fourth at the 2012 London Olympics, told reporters. “I managed to pass Tom (Australia’s Tom Burton) on the downwind, and now it’s between just him and me.”

Despite only one first in the opening round, Stipanovic earned his spot at the front of the 10 medal-round finalists out of a 46-boat fleet with eight top-10 finishes in the preliminary races. Race ended with Australia’s Tom Burton finished claiming gold, Stipanovic won silver, and New Zealand’s Sam Meech got bronze.


With a few days of Olympic competitions left Croatia may climb the ladder of glory a notch higher but even if its medal tally stays as is it’s such a joy and pride to pin this feather onto the  Croatian success cap. Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb); B.A., M.A.Ps. (Syd)


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