Tony Madunić, reporting for CSR from Whistler, Canada
The 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympic Games run from Feb 12-28th and Team Croatia arrived to the mountain resort town of Whistler, which is two hours north of Vancouver, earlier in the week.
Via connections with the Vancouver Croatian Centre, 45 local Croats scored guest list spots to the “official welcome ceremony” in Whistler. Mom, Dad and I were with the group and I had no idea what was in store when we headed up the mountain that day. By the time the news of the event reached me it had traveled from person to person across multiple languages and was pretty vague.
We had our own welcoming ceremony in mind. After evading three radar traps on the drive from Vancouver, we arrived and started to unload Dad’s arsenal: 2 massive Croatian flags on poles, 1 even larger one without a pole, 2 smaller ones for the kids, a Croatian hat, a Hrvatska track jacket and more. I immediately knew it was going to be an interesting day when a Team Russia trainer kissed our flag seconds after Dad unfurled it. How many times are you going to see that?
RUSSIANS STILL HAVE NOT FORGOT WHAT WE DID FOR THEM IN 2008
On the outskirts of the Athletes Village we met the rest of the group from Vancouver as well as the head of the Croatian delegation, Damir Šegota. He gave us a tour of the Athletes Village and the team accommodations. The Croats share a building with the Czechs and, as you’d expect, we saw athletes from all over the world including Aussies, Americans, Greeks, Russians, Austrians, Swedes, Italians, Japanese, Belgians, French, and even Peruvians. We saw thousands of volunteers dressed in bright blue and a massive police and security presence was felt everywhere.
HOW COME THE CZECHS GET A BIGGER SIGN?
One of the best parts- seeing how people in the village were impressed to see Croatians and our flags. Other athletes, volunteers, visitors and security were taken with our huge collection of flags and checkered everything and took lots of photos of us. Maybe the non-Croatian athletes were jealous that our team had so many fans.
Before the main event, the Croatian athletes, local Olympic delegates and our group had a ‘meet and greet’ in front of their accommodations center.
AFTER THAT, THE OFFICIAL CEREMONY BEGAN…
…FOLLOWED BY THE CROATIAN ANTHEM
A PARTY SPONTANEOUSLY BROKE OUT WITH OLYMPIC MASCOTS QUACHI AND MOGA
THE 2010 CROATIAN WINTER OLYMPIC TEAM
Matea Ferk-Alpine Skiing
Nika Fleiss-Alpine Skiing
Ana Jelušić-Alpine Skiing
Ivica Kostelić-Alpine Skiing
Danko Marinelli-Alpine Skiing
Sofija Novoselić-Alpine Skiing
Tea Palić-Alpine Skiing
Ivan Ratkić-Alpine Skiing
Dalibor Šamšal-Alpine Skiing
Natko Zrnčić-Dim-Alpine Skiing
TONY MADUNIĆ WITH CROATIAN BIATHLETE JAKOV FAK
Finally, we needed a ‘big bang’ ending so everybody climbed a hill in the Athletes Village for a massive photo op. Even the police got in for this one.
~CroatianSoccerReport.com would like to thank Tony Madunić and family for the exclusive look into the official Croatian welcoming party in Whistler. You did a fantastic job!
If there are any CSR readers planning on being in Vancouver during the Olympics, feel free to email us at CroatianSoccerReport@gmail.com with any pictures or videos you take, whether you’re at an event or just taking in the experience.