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Olympic Glory

The London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games are behind us, great moments and emotions that we will never forget. Over 10,000 Olympic and 4,000 Paralympic athletes gathered at the world’s biggest sports event, including 115 Olympians and 13 Paralympians from Serbia. They brought us lots of excitement and happiness and we must thank them for all they did, whatever the result.
The media made a lot of pressure on our Olympic team, because this could be “it”, this could be our 100th medal in history.
But, it started great, Andrija Zlatic, a 34-year-old sports shooter won a bronze medal in 10m Air Pistol on the first day of the Games!

In a heart-breaking final, with lots of ups and downs, he managed to get 3rd place with 685.2 points behind Luca Tesconi from Italy and Jin Jong-Oh from Korea Republic.
“I believe this medal took off the pressure a little bit”, said Andrija, after winning his first Olympic medal, and the first Olympic medal in the history of Uzice.
But, no medals whatsoever, were seen in the next 7 days, until…
Ivana Maksimovic, a 22-year-old shooter won our 100th medal! She won silver at 50m Riffle Three Positions, which she almost secured in the Qualifications having 5 points more than the 3rd placed at that time, Daria Vdovina.

“I can’t believe it, I think I still don’t know what I did”, said Ivana after she won the silver medal.
We waited, and waited, fewer and fewer athletes were competing, but still no gold! We almost thought that we wouldn’t win it again, but then came the biggest surprise of the Olympic Games!
Milica Mandic, a 20-year old taekwondo athlete thought us the rules of taekwondo in just one day! 4 points for a kick in the head with rotation, 3 points for a kick in the head without it, 2 points for a kick in the shield with rotation, and 1 point without it!
Millions of spectators from different parts of Serbia yelled: “3 points, no 4! Milica won!”

Nobody thought that she would win the gold after beating Talitiga Crawley from Samoa in the Preliminary round, but…
After another heart-breaking event, and winning the crucial 3 points in the last seconds of the match against the defending Olympic Champion, Maria Espinoza, from Mexico, we started to believe.
And, yes! In the semi-finals, she won the match against Anastasia Baryshnikova from Russia with ease, 11-3!
Three and a half millions spectators watched the final match in which Milica Mandic fought against Anne-Caroline Graffe. And what a match, Anne-Caroline made the first hit, and had the lead 1-0, until the end of the 1st round, when Milica earned her first point, and 1-1 was the score after the first round.

Milica started the second round a lot better than the first, she took over the lead, 2-1, but a few seconds later it was tied again, 2-2. And, then, Milica’s favourite kick came on the scene! 3 points for Milica, 5-2 overall.
Anne-Caroline managed to get closer to Milica’s result and it was 5-4 at the end of the second round.

The third round brought us a lot of tension; Milica scored the first point in the round, again. But it was all tied after Anne-Caroline hit her in the body with rotation and earned 2 points. One point for Milica, and one point for Anne-Caroline, and it was 7-7, 1 minute before the end. Milica won the next point half a minute later, and earned another 6 seconds before the end.

The celebration then commenced! She ran in tears with the Serbian flag all across the Arena, yelling: “This is for you, Serbia!”

For the first time, we could hear our anthem at the Olympics, as an independent country.
The last day of the Games brought us another medal. The Men’s Water Polo team won bronze in an unforgettable match, where the referees “took our measure”. In the last minute of the quarter our team managed to get the 3-point lead, and in the last minute, the already mentioned referees, made scandalous mistakes, and made “new rules”, never before used in a water-polo game.
All in all, our coach and the second coach were disqualified, 7 more players were also disqualified, and again we “showed our teeth” and won another medal at the Olympics.

So, 1 gold, 1 silver, 2 bronze medals, and we can’t leave out Novak Djokovic, Milorad Cavic and Zorana Arunovic who won 4th places in their events.

The Paralympics

The Paralympians started later, on the 27th August, but with almost the same success.
We didn’t wait a lot for the first medal. Zeljko Dimitrijevic won a gold medal in Men’s Club Throw, setting a new World Record! He managed to get the club to 26.88m and score 1010 points!
The second placed was Radim Beles from the Czech Republic (26.67m, 1004 p) and the third placed was Lahouari Bahlaz who threw the club further, but was in a lower category (36.31m, 1003 p).

Two more medals were seen in the Athletics competition, and two new World Records!
Drazenko Mitrovic won silver and managed to set the new World Record at his category in Men’s Discus Throw! His best result was 32.97m and he scored 1012 points, behind Leonardo Diaz from Cuba (44.63m, 1019 p) and ahead of Ali Yari Mohammad from Iran (41.98m, 978 p).

Tanja Dragic also set a new World Record and won the second gold for Serbia in Women’s Javelin Throw. Her best result has been seen in the second round, 42.51m!
Anna Sokorina from Russia came in second and Natalija Eder from Latvia came in third.

But that’s not it!
Two silver medals and one fourth place were also seen at the Table Tennis tournaments.
Zlatko Kesler and Borislava Peric-Rankovic won silver medals, in their Classes.
Zlatko Kesler lost against Feng Panfeng in the final, 3-0. The bronze medalist came from Germany, and it was Thomas Schmidberger.

Borislava Peric-Rankovic also lost the final match, against Ying Zhou, 3-0. Sung Hye Moon from Korea Republic came in third.

2 gold medals, 3 silver medals, and 1 fourth place is a big success for these people, and we are all proud of them!

By Srdjan, 17

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