CROATIA AT THE OLYMPICS© by Adam S. Eterovich, USA, 2001
On this web with permission of the author
Great honor has come to Croatia in Utah. The Battleship USS Utah was sunk at the Japanese attack of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. Chief Petty Officer Peter Tomich, Croatian American, gave his life saving his fellow sailors and was awarded America’s highest honor and awarded the Medal of Honor for bravery beyond the call of duty. No next of kin could not be found and this Medal of Honor lays unclaimed; it is on display in Salt Lake City, Utah as he has been adopted by the State of Utah. Now, a young Croatian girl, Janica Kostelic, is being honored with a Medals of Gold at the Olympic Games in Utah.
Croatian Olympic Champions Credited to Italy, Austria and EnglandCroatians participated in all Olympic Games since the start of the modern games in the 1890’s. Credit was always given those that ruled her. Milan Neralic was awarded a Bronze medal in Fencing for Austria in 1900. He was a Croatian. Croatia was a part of Austria. Petar Ivanov, Ante, Frano, Simun Katalinic, Viktor Ljubic and Bruno Soric were awarded Bronze medals in Rowing for Italy in 1924. They were from Zadar; Zadar was then part of Italy. Paolo Radmilovich from Dubrovnik was awarded a Gold medal in swimming for England in 1908, and a Gold medal for waterpolo in 1908, 1912, 1924 and 1928. Many Croatians won Olympic medals while controlled by Yugoslavia. Croatia and Croatians should not allow Austria, Italy or Yugoslavia to any longer take credit for something that is not theirs. These are spoils of war and national heritage theft.
From the beginning of the Olympic Games to the 1980’s, Croatia won approximately 170 Olympic medals including 51 Gold medals. Croatian Olympic Gold winners included:
American Croatian Olympic ContributionsFormer National Amateur Athletic Union and World's Diving Champion, Helen Crlenkovich is about to make a perfect entry into the water after a dive from the highboard. Known popularly as "Clenkie", Crlenkovich was National Outdoor Springboard Champion in 1939, 1941, and 1945; National Platform Champion in 1941 and 1945, and the National Indoor Three Meter titleholder from 1939 to 1942. She won the Olympic Gold Medal in Diving in 1940, see [PDF]. The former University of California student and native of San Francisco, California died of cancer in 1955 only one week after learning that she had been named to the Helms Foundation Diving Hall of Fame. Helen Crlenkovich is a Croatian American.
Sacramento’s George Stanich was John Wooden’s first All-American at University of California at Los Angeles. Stanich played guard for the Bruins and earned his honors in 1950. An all-around athlete, he captured a Bronze Medal in the high jump at the 14th Olympic Games in London and later pitched for Oakland of the Pacific Coast Baseball League. Stanich coached basketball at El Camino College in Los Angeles for 15 years and in 1971 coached Yugoplastika of Split to the national basketball championship. He was Professor of Physical Education at El Camino College in Los Angeles. George Stanich is a Croatian American.
Robert Minerich was asked by the United States Olympic Committee, to become Director of Olympic Village and Public Facilities for the VIII Winter Olympics to be held at Squaw Valley, California in 1960. Bob, Minerich was in charge of designing and directing the housing and feeding arrangements for the athletes, National and International Olympic Committee Members and heads of the many corporations involved in the Olympics. After the Olympics, as a management consultant, he helped plan, organize and staff a new ski facility, Alpine Meadows in the Squaw Valley, California area. In 1979-80, when the United States Olympic Committee again called upon his expertise. He took a three month leave of absence to become the liaison of the USA Olympic Committee and International Olympic Committee to help solve the problems confronting the Winter Olympics in Lake Placid, New York. Bob Minerich received a football scholarship from Northwestern University of Evanston, Illinois. Bob Minerich is a Croatian American.
Croatian ContributionsGoran Ivanisevic was born on September 13, 1971 in Split, Croatia. He played tennis for the Croatian National Davis Cup teams; he was awarded an Olympic Bronze Medal in 1992, individually and in pair with G. Prpic. He is Wimbledon Champion in 2001 and was Wimbledon finalist 1992); Wimbledon semi-finalist (1990); best placing on ATP list: fourth place, 1992. He was awarded Best Sportsman of Croatia in 1992.
Drazen Petrovic led the Croatian team to the Olympic Final against the American Dream Team and won the Silver Medal in Barcelona. In 1988 Drazen joined “Real”, a club from Madrid and after three years of successful playing he accomplished the dream of the dreams of all basketball players, when he scored his first goal for the colors of the best World League-the American NBA. At first he played for Portland Trail Blazers and from 1991 to his death he was wearing the colors of New Jersey Nets. During the nine years of his brilliant carrier he was the number one player on all basketball levels, in Spain, even in the USA where he was scorer number one of the NETS and the scorer number eleven of the NBA League.
Toni Kukoc is a professional basketball player. Born September 18, 1969 in Split, Dalmatia, Croatia. married with one child. Olympic Silver Medal 1988, Olympic Silver Medal 1992. Played professional basketball in Chicago for the Chicago Bulls.
Addendum: The rowing crew of Italy M8+, with Croatian rowers, won silver and bronze medals at European chempionships in 1922 and 1923 respecitvely (information by Mr. Tomislav Petricevic, Zagreb).