Sunday, 20 February 2022

Tena Hadžić to Carry Croatian Flag at Winter Olympics Closing Ceremony

February 20, 2022 - The youngest Croatian Olympian and cross-country skier Tena Hadžić will carry the Croatian flag at the closing ceremony of the Winter Olympics on Sunday. 

Croatian cross-country skier Marko Skender (20) finished his debut performance at the Beijing Winter Olympics in 57th place in the ski marathon (mass start), which, due to the great cold (-16 degrees) and icy wind, was shortened from the usual 50 kilometers to the "women's version" of the same discipline - 30 km.

The gold medal was won by the Russian Alexander Bolshunov (25), who finished on the podium for the third time at the Chinese National Cross-Country Ski Center Zhangjiakou (for the fifth medal in Beijing in total). He triumphed with a time of 1:11:32.7, or 5.5 seconds ahead of second-placed compatriot Ivan Jakimushkin and precisely 7 seconds ahead of third-placed Norwegian Simen Hegstad Krueger.

Marko Skender managed to finish the race with great perseverance and enter the finish line 19:01.8 minutes behind the Olympic winner Bolshunov. Weaker than Skender in this race were Brazilian Manex Silva and Greek Apostolos Angelis. This is also Skender's best placement at the Beijing Games - he was 69th in the sprint, while he took 85th place in the 15 km race.

The youngest Croatian Olympian and marathon skier Tena Hadžić will thus carry the Croatian flag at the closing ceremony of the XXIV Winter Olympics on Sunday (1 pm local time), announced the Croatian Olympic Committee (COC).

According to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) rules, at the closing ceremony of the Games, the flag can be carried by one athlete.

Most of Croatia's representatives have already left the Chinese capital, so this honor remained in the competence of the cross-country skiing trio. 

Since Marko Skender was the flag bearer at the opening ceremony of the Games, and Vedrana Malec has a very demanding performance in the ski marathon (30 km) on the last day of her third and final Games, the choice fell on the 17-year-old from Zagreb.

Tena Hadžić will join Marko Skender and Zrinka Ljutić and complete the story of Croatian Olympic debutants as flag bearers at the Beijing Winter Olympics.

Source: HOO

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Saturday, 12 February 2022

Filip Zubčić After Olympic Skiing Medal on Sunday

February 12, 2022 - Filip Zubčić is after an Olympic skiing medal on Sunday as he awaits his first performance at the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing.

Croatia's female skiers have returned to Croatia after performing at the Winter Olympics in Beijing, but Croatia's biggest trump card for the medal is still awaiting his first performance, reports HRT

The giant slalom is scheduled for Sunday, and Filip Zubčić is among the main favorites for one of the medals.

"The snow is a little different because it is completely artificial. It’s nice to ski; I hope it will be icy during the race, that would be nice. We enjoy everything here," said Filip Zubčić in a conversation with Croatian Radio reporter Krešimir Gotlin.

Does different snow mean different preparation, for example, lubricating the skis a certain way?

"When the snow is cold, it doesn't play a big role. We have new skis, which they made for me for such aggressive snow and need to be tested to so we will dedicate ourselves to that. And try to feel good before the race. I’m fine right now and can’t wait."

Did Filip have enough time to adjust to the time difference?

"I have no sleeping problems. I was tired from the trip the first night, so I slept for a long time. It didn't seem that I was so tired, but I obviously was, as I slept for 11 hours," laughs Filip, whose good mood is not spoiled even by strict epidemiological measures.

"That's how it is; it's the same for everyone. One minute for the test after breakfast won’t ruin my day."

His competitive form is not timed just for the Olympics.

"My goal is to be in the best possible shape throughout the season. It would be stupid to concentrate on just one race. That is my philosophy."

After the giant slalom (on Sunday, 03:45h / 06:45 am), Zubčić will also perform in the slalom in which he's achieved excellent results this season, even better than in the giant slalom, which is his primary discipline.

"I feel great in both disciplines. Everyone knows that this season in the giant slalom, I have not yet made a result that would satisfy me, but I was close to the podium. Unfortunately, I failed; it would be nice to do it on Sunday."

Along with Zubčić, Matej Vidović and Samuel Kolega will ski under the Croatian flag in Beijing. They added briefly:

"The snow is a little strange, this is my first time in Asia, but I am pleasantly surprised. The organization is fine and all in all - the feeling is good. Unfortunately, I haven't had a chance to train in giant slalom; we will try and see how I will be in the race, but slalom is a priority, and we are definitely attacking it."

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Monday, 7 February 2022

Croatia's Zrinka Ljutić Debuts at 2022 Winter Olympics, Takes 28th in Giant Slalom

February 7, 2022 - Young skier Zrinka Ljutić was the only Croatia representative in the women's giant slalom race at the Winter Olympics in Beijing on Monday, taking 28th place. 

After Covid measures prevented Croatia's best skier Leona Popović from competing, another more experienced skier, Andrea Komšić, was unlucky with her giant slalom performance. While warming up for the race, she experienced a stiff neck and back pain and did not show up for the start of the race, reports HRT.

Zrinka Ljutić was 36th after the first run, 4.94 seconds behind the Olympic winner, Sweden's Sara Hector. After the second run, she was 28th, 8.08 seconds behind Hector. The silver medal was won by Italian skier Federica Brignone (+0.28), and the bronze by Swiss skier Lara Gut-Behrami (+.0.72).

"I am not satisfied with how I fell behind, and I did not ride well, although I did not have the feeling that I was that far behind. However, the conditions are excellent, and I’m really sorry I didn’t take advantage of that. This is a new experience for me, and I hope to be smarter on another occasion," the 18-year-old Ljutić commented on her Olympic debut in Beijing, adding:

"The first ride was not great, and I didn't have that feeling when I was skiing. I actually felt fine, even though I had a lot of speed, so I was shocked when I reached the finish line. I later realized how much more I needed to let go, look for more speed, and go a lot cleaner and more direct. Then I tried to fix all those things in the second run, and I really threw myself on my head. I’m glad I managed to connect at least a couple of good turns in some places where I didn’t get in the first run. I’m 28th, which doesn’t sound bad. In a couple of years, no one will remember that half of them dropped out. I entered 28th. I learned a lot; a lot of work awaits me."

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Monday, 7 February 2022

Croatia Snowboarder Lea Jugovac Misses Olympic Debut Due to Anti-Covid Measures in Beijing

February 7, 2022 - Croatia snowboarder Lea Jugovac missed her Olympic debut in Beijing on Sunday due to anti-covid measures. The Croatian Olympic Committee has sent an appeal to the Organizing Committee of the Beijing Games.

Sunday did not see any performances by Croatia representatives at the Winter Olympics in Beijing, but there is no lack of excitement in the Croatia camp. In addition to daily testing and training, the day was marked by a protest letter from the Croatian Olympic Committee (COC) to the Organizing Committee of the Beijing Games against the unacceptable ant-covid procedures, which left Croatia snowboarder Lea Jugovac without her Olympic debut.

The contents of the letter were also presented to the International Olympic Committee (IOC). It was signed by the heads of the COC Mission at the Beijing Winter Olympics, Damir Šegota and Petra Nosso. Along with the letter, an appendix was sent in the form of a report by the coach of the Croatian snowboarder, Darko Bilen.

The protest letter can be read in its entirety below:

Dear Sirs/Madam,

We are writing this letter to bring your attention to the sad incident that happened yesterday evening and night to our athlete during and after the Opening ceremony of the Beijing Winter Olympic Games.

The clumsy procedure that dictated that athletes have to be tested 24 hours before the Opening ceremony, to ensure that everyone present is uninfected, obviously have been fruitless because the unacceptable procedure that followed prevented our athlete from attending the Opening ceremony, as well as today's competition.

Just before the delegation entered the stadium, she was removed from the parade, which shocked her and the coach. Supposedly she was positive? After re-testing in Beijing, the athlete was returned to the accommodation only at 3 am, and the negative test result came after 4 am, which resulted in the decision not to perform the next day at 10 am.

Due to all the above, we believe that BOCOG should apologize to the athlete who was not only prevented from participating in the Opening ceremony, but also from performing at the Games. The procedures performed by BOCOG were unacceptable, the athlete was mentally struck by it all, the procedure itself and the inhumane conditions in which she found herself last night denied her performance at the Games. A detailed description of the whole incident can be found in the attachment.

Should you require any further clarification, please do not hesitate to contact us.

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Saturday, 5 February 2022

Valentina Aščić Makes History: First Croatian Speed Skater Competes at Winter Olympics!

February 5, 2022 - Valentina Aščić was not only the first Croatia representative to compete in Beijing, but she became the first-ever Croatian to compete in speed skating at the Winter Olympics! 

Valentina Aščić is the first Croatia representative to compete at the Winter Olympics in Beijing and the first-ever Croatian to compete in speed skating! 

The 23-year-old Zagreb native fulfilled her dream. Valentina Aščić performed at the Winter Olympics in Beijing, in a discipline where Croatia was represented for the first time in its history. Aščić had her first appearance in the 500 meters race, and in a strong competition, she failed to book a spot in the quarterfinals.

Aščić performed immediately in the first group in respectable company with Florence Brunelle of Canada, Selma Poutsma of the Netherlands, and Tifany Huot Marchand of France.

Aščić finished third in the group with a time of 44,681 after the Frenchwoman fell in the middle of the race and dropped out. The two best from each of the eight groups and four other best third-place finishers went to the quarterfinals. 

Aščić was 23rd out of the 32 speedskaters in today's race. She could have hoped to advance but depended on the result of other skaters. After the sixth group, she was overtaken by four third-placed competitors, leaving the Croatian Olympian without a chance for the quarterfinals. 

"When I went out on the ice, it seemed like a dream, but I managed to recover. I am delighted with the result, so I somehow planned to be around 20th place. I had a great start and was third already at the start, but I was a little disturbed by one girl's fall due to contact, which is in our sport, and then a repeat start. I can go much faster; I just needed a little better preparation because I skated on this ice for the first time," said Aščić after her debut.

The KBK Meteor Zagreb member, currently the only speed skating club in Croatia, is expected to perform in the 1500 meters on February 16. 

Aščić has been training in Belgium since the Zagreb earthquake, with Dutch coach Ingmar van Riel. She had been waiting a long time to go to Beijing. Namely, as she was recently infected with COVID-19, she had to have four negative PCR tests before boarding a plane to China. She arrived just two days before the race.

Source: HOO

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Saturday, 5 February 2022

Croatia Winter Olympics Schedule: 11 Croatian Athletes Competing in Beijing

February 5, 2022 - A look at the Croatia Winter Olympics schedule as 11 Croatian Olympians compete in Beijing this February until February 20. 

Croatia has a total of 11 representatives at this year's Winter Olympics, which are being held in Beijing from February 4 to 20, 2022, reports

Four male athletes and seven female athletes will compete in four sports: alpine skiing, cross-country skiing, snowboarding, and speed skating.

Croatia's skiers in Beijing are Filip Zubčić, Matej Vidović, and Samuel Kolega, and female representatives Leona Popović, Zrinka Ljutić, and Andrea Komšić. Vedrana Malec, Tena Hadžić, and Marko Skender will represent Croatia in cross-country skiing. The only Croatian speed skater at the Winter Olympics will be Valentina Aščić, and the only snowboarder Lea Jugovac.

Schedule for Croatian athletes:
*all listed hours are according to Croatian time

February 5 (speed skating, qualifications in the 500 meters - Aščić)
12:00 race start

February 5 (snowboard, slope qualifications - Jugovac)
03:45 start of the competition

February 7 (women's giant slalom - Popović, Ljutić, Komšić)
3:15 first run
6:45 second run

February 8 (cross-country skiing, men, individual sprint - Skender)
9:00 race start

February 8 (cross-country skiing, women, individual sprint - Malec, Hadžić)
9:00 race start

February 9 (women's slalom - Popović, Ljutić, Komšić)
3:15 first run
6:45 second run

February 10 (cross-country skiing, men, 15 km classic - Skender)
8:00 race start

February 10 (cross-country skiing, women, 10 km classic - Malec, Hadžić)
8:00 race start

February 13 (men's slalom - Zubčić, Vidović, S. Kolega)
3:15 first run
6:45 second run

February 14 (cross-country skiing, men, 50 km freestyle - Skender)
7:00 race start

February 14 (snowboard, qualifications in big air - Jugovac)
2:30 start of the competition

February 16 (men's giant slalom - Zubčić, S. Kolega)
3:15 first run
6:45 second run

February 16 (cross-country skiing, women, team sprint - Malec, Hadžić)
10:00 race start

February 16 (speed skating, finals in 1500 meters - Aščić)
12:30 race start

February 20 (cross-country skiing, women, 30 km freestyle - Malec)
7:30 race start

Beijing is the first city to host the summer and winter editions in the history of the Games. About 2,900 athletes from about 90 countries will compete this month. 

In the three Olympic zones - Beijing, Yanqing, and Zhangjiakou, there are 13 competition destinations, where 109 sets of medals will be distributed in seven sports branches consisting of fifteen sports and disciplines. The Beijing Winter Olympics is also the most balanced Winter Olympics to date (55% male and 45% female representatives).

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