Croatian Sports - Women's Handball

Call us biased, but the 2012 Olympic Games in London really were the best Games ever – right?! The fabulous atmosphere, the very friendly welcome for visitors (home and foreign), the superb venues (including having some of London’s most famous sights as a stunning backdrop for the road cycling, marathon and triathlon events) as well as some exceptional sporting moments mean London 2012 was well and truly a sensational Olympics. Better still, the performance of Croatia at the 2012 Olympic Games was the country’s best ever! (Edit: and then surpassed at the 2016 Olympics…but as London is our hometown, we’ll keep this page up!)

Their Olympic team (which was the largest ever at the time – Croatia brought 108 athletes to these Games) won six medals in total – three gold, one silver and two bronze. The previous most successful Games for Croatia was Athens 2004 when five medals were won – but never before has Croatia won more than one gold medal at a Games. (And, in fact, at Beijing 2008 the country didn’t win any gold medals.)

Gold medal winners for Croatia at the 2012 Olympic Games

Sandra Perkovic, Discus
Giovanni Cernogoraz, Men’s Trap (Shooting)
Men’s Waterpolo Team

Silver medal winners for Croatia at the 2012 Olympic Games

Men’s quadruple sculls (Rowing)

Bronze medal winners for Croatia at the 2012 Olympic Games

Lucija Zaninovic, Taekwondo -49kg
Men’s Handball Team

Amongst these achievements, Sandra Perkovic threw a distance of 69.11m in the discus final, which is a national record. Giovanni Cernogoraz also equalled the Olympic record (a score of 146) in his event.

Check out the video below for the full Gold Medal match in the men’s waterpolo event, Croatia vs Italy, including the Croatian team’s celebrations at the end:

Sailing was the “next best” event for Croatia at these Olympics; Tonci Stipanovic (in the Laser class), Ivan Kljakovic Gaspic (Finn class), and Sime Fantela & Igor Marenic (470 class) all finishing just outside the medals. They achieved fourth, fifth and sixth respectively in their events. Wow, it’s almost like Croatia really lends itself to sailing, or something…

The Guardian had a great article on Giovanni Cernogoraz, who actually works as a waiter in a family restaurant ‘by day’: London 2012: How the gold shot Croatia’s humble shooter to fame.

Croatia at the 2012 Olympics
The Croatian ladies handball team celebrate a victory at the 2012 Olympics

The Joy of Handball

One of the unexpected hits of the 2012 Olympics for spectators and TV viewers alike seemed to be handball. This is, of course, a very popular sport in much of mainland Europe, and especially in countries that made up the former Yugoslavia. Croatia are in fact double-gold medalists (in the men’s event), having won the competition in 1996 and 2004. The Guardian had a great article highlighting the sport and – in particular – a potential grudge match that took place at this year’s Games, Croatia against Serbia: Hostility plus high-fives at Croatia and Serbia handball. If you want to read more on what handball’s really all about, the Independent also a good piece at the start of the Games: The delicate art and grand tradition of handball