How well do you know Croatian History? While most people consider themselves "experts" on Croatian history, few people were able to speak to the history of some of Croatia's most-famous female, historical figures.
With so many women to chose from, throughout the history of our great country, we have decided to do a series of blogs that highlight the women who have made indelible marks in their respective fields and industries. We will touch on such legendary figures as Ivana Brlic Mazuranic, called the Croatian Anderson or Tolkien, Marija Juric Zagorka, the famous journalist who worked in isolation simply because she was a woman ("Tomboy Baba"), Milka Trnina, after which the "Mlika"chocolate got the name from, Slava Raskaj, painter who created beautiful watercolor portraits, Janica Kostelic - the "Snow Queen" who medaled four times (3 Gold, 1 Silver) in the 2002 Olympics, and Savka Dabcevic-Kucar - the respected politician.
While we will touch on these women and many others over the coming weeks, we dedicate our first article to all of the women who have not only represented Croatia on the global stage, but have excelled and brought fame to our country in the world.
At the 1968 Oympic Games in Mexico City, Durdica Bjedov won the first ever Croatian Gold Medal in swimming, winning the 100-meter breaststroke while also winning a silver medal in the 200-meter breaststroke. To this day, she is the only gold-medalist swimmer in Croatian history. After an illustrious career at the Olympics, Bjedov has since dedicated her life to coaching Croatia's next
generation of elite swimmers.
When discussing famous female Croatian athletes, Barbara Jelic is one who quickly comes to mind for most people. For those who may not remember, Barbara is one of the most successful Croatian athletes of all time, leading Croatia to three silver medals in Volleyball (1995,'97,'99). As a tremendous outside hitter, Barbara often scored more points than the rest of her team, earning the Best Scorer Award in the 1998 and 1999 World Cup, the 2000 Olympic Qualifier, while also being named the Best Player of Europe in 2000.
Janica Kostelic also known as the "Snow Queen" earned that nickname for being the best female skier in Croatian History. So soon after a serious knee injury and operation in 2001 she won this World Cup, and the following year won the three Olympic gold medals and one silver. In 2003 he again won the World Cup, and in 2004 was unfortunately ended because of another injury.
We are finishing this category of famous women from Croatian history with Blanka Vlašić, Croatian athlete who specialises in the high jump. She is the Croatian record holder in the event, and the former indoor World Champion. She was a talented junior athlete and attended her first Olympic Games in 2000 Sydney at the age of sixteen. She won the World Junior Championships in Athletics in both 2000 and 2002. Vlašić broke her national record in 2004 and also won her first world senior medal at the World Indoor Championships that year. A hyperthyroid condition hindered her second Olympic appearance in Athens and she spent the 2005 season recuperating from surgery. She returned in 2006, taking the silver at the World Indoor Championships. The 2007 season signalled a strong run of form: she won at the 2007 World Championships, became the indoor world champion in 2008, and her winning streak came to an end with a narrow loss at the Beijing Olympics, where she took silver. She became World Champion for a second time in 2009.
Like Pat Summit once said: You can’t always be the strongest or most talented or most gifted person in the room, but you can be the most competitive...