Seven of the 11 Croatian representatives who will compete in Beijing – alpine skiers Andrea Komšić, Zrinka Ljutić, and Matej Vidović, Nordic skiers Vedrana Malec, Marko Skender, and Tena Hadžić and snowboarder Lea Jugovac – took part in a relaxed gathering with the media, while respecting current epidemiological measures.
The Vice President of the Croatian Olympic Committee Morana Paliković Gruden, the State Secretary for Sports at the Ministry of Tourism and Sports Tomislav Družak, and the Head of the Croatian Olympic Committee Mission in Beijing Damir Šegota wished them successful performances.
With the emphasis on the importance of competition despite the pandemic by the COC Vice President and the effective message from Secretary of State Druzak (“Good luck leaving, come back even happier”), Šegota had the thankless task of announcing four PCR tests and other commitments needed to function in the Olympic villages of the Chinese capital.
Snowboarder Lea Jugovac explained her disciplines and has hopes to succeed in her Olympic Games debut accordingly to her satisfaction. Another debutant, cross-country skier Tena Hadžić, emphasized her happiness with the fact that she became a Croatian Olympian at the age of only 17, and her peer, alpine skier Zrinka Ljutić, said the same.
“These are my first Games and I am very excited about them. It is definitely a special feeling when we are all together and fighting for Croatia,” said Ljutić, adding that she has great support from her representative colleagues, primarily Andrea Komšić, but also Leona Popović.
Andrea Komšić is traveling to the third Winter Olympics and wants to do her best, regardless of the announcement that the snow will not be great for European representatives.
“I did well in the preparations, I feel good both physically and mentally. As for the results, Leona opened our eyes this season and showed that it is possible,” said Komšić, adding that she feels very comfortable in the winter collection of the 4F brand, which has hit the design again.
Matej Vidović is also going to his third Games. He made his debut in Sochi and competed in Pyongyang.
“I am very motivated, I want to achieve something more than competing itself. My form is at a high level and I want to use it to achieve the best possible result. Although the focus will be on performance, not results, I would be pleased to be among the top eight,” Vidović said.
Flag bearer Marko Skender wanted to stay healthy and enter the first half of the competition in three disciplines of cross-country skiing. He had the most questions from journalists about carrying the flag, said he wasn’t nervous, but promised that he would practice this honorary act before leaving home.
His Nordic colleague, Vedrana Malec, hopes for the best at her third, and likely final Games. She pointed out that Croatia’s Nordic skiers mostly train in Slovenia, which has become their reality.
“For the second time, we will wear 4F equipment and I can say that it is excellent again – quality, comfortable, and designed so that we are always recognizable as Croatian Olympians,” she concluded.
Croatia’s Olympic athletes will travel to China on Sunday, January 30, 2022.
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