One Month Away from 2018 Winter Olympics: Who Will Represent Croatia?

Daniela Rogulj

The 2018 Winter Olympics will be held in Pyeongchang from February 9 to 25, 2018.

Because we are just 30 days away from the Winter Olympics in South Korea’s Pyeongchang, we thought we’d give you a look at who will be representing Croatia for this year’s competition. 

As it stands now, 12 Croatian athletes are participating in four sports in the 2018 Winter Olympics. This number could increase, however, as the deadline for normalities expires in 15 days, during which Croatia’s representation could be improved by another three to four names, while the number of sports could grow to six, reports on January 10, 2018. 

Croatia will be represented mostly in Alpine skiing, and according to the current situation, we have quotas for the performance of two male skiers and three female skiers, and it is unlikely that this number will change until the qualification cycle ends and the final odds are announced on January 21st. While the names of our Olympians are not defined at this time, it is highly likely that the Croatian Ski Association (HSS) will select candidates among the following athletes: Leona Popović, Ida Štimac, Natko Zrnčić-Dim, Filip Zubčić, Matej Vidović, Istok Rodeš, Elias Kolega and Samuel Kolega.

Croatia could have four representatives in bobsledding at this Winter Olympics. The bobsledding crew will be led by pilot Dražen Silić who currently holds 26th place in the four-seat bobsled, 29th place in the two-seater, and has performed among the 30 best-placed crews in both competitions. The qualifying competitions last until January 14th when the final order will be known. The team will probably include Mate Mezulić, Antonio Zelić, and Benedikt Nikpalj in addition to Silić. 

As for the cross-country skiing competition, Croatian representatives filled quotas for the appearance of a female and a male competitor, and until the end of the qualifying cycle and the announcement of the final quotas on January 22nd, changes are possible. This means that the existing allowances can be increased by one in both competitions; thus the number of athletes who could represent Croatia could increase from two to four athletes. Just as in alpine skiing, the names of the athletes have not been defined at this time, but it is well known that the choices will be between the following athletes: Vedrana Malec, Gabrijela Skender, Edi Dadić and Marko Skender.

Croatia currently meets their quota for a biathlon athlete, and according to the score scale, it is forecasted that this will remain. It is almost certain that this quota will be filled by Krešimir Crnković. 

Croatian athletes could still have competitors in the luge and snowboarding, but the odds are small. In the luge, Croatia’s only athlete is Daria Obratov, who is currently in 33rd place on the consolidated Olympic qualification scale. Obratov would have to be one of the 31 best lugers to appear in the Olympics. Once the qualifying competitions are completed, the quota divisions follow. Since Obratov is only two places away from qualifying, her chances of advancing aren’t so bad. As far as snowboarding is concerned, there is no great Croatian prospect for us to watch in Pyongyang. For the time being, the best placement is held by Leo Jugovac who is currently in ninth place and outside of qualifying for the Olympics. 

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