Friday, April 6, 2007

Mexico 1968 - Yugoslavia Olympic winner for the first time

Photo: The "golden" water polo team from Mexico City: top row: Mirko Sandić, Dejan Dabović, Ratko Rudić, Uroš Marović, Đorđe Perišić; middle row: Zdravko Hebel, Ozren Bonačić, Ronald Lopatni, Ivo Trumbić; bottom row: head coach Aleksandar Sajfert, Miroslav Poljak, Karlo Stipanić, Zoran Jankovići and coach Čorić.
The Yugoslav water polo team achieved their first Olympic triumph at the seventh Games they took part in, following three second places (Helsinki 1956, Melbourne 1956 and Tokyo 1964). They defeated the USSR after the overtimes 13:11. The final bout saw both Yugoslavia and the USSR fighting for their first Olympic gold. The “blues” failed to win the title in the regular time, though they had a lead of 9:6 four and a half minutes before the end of the last quarter. The “blues” played excellent defence in the match completely checking the Soviets who scored all of their 11 goals from the four-metre line, kindly gifts of the Belgian referee Fuchs. The last such goal won them a tie (they never once took a lead during the match) and overtimes. However, the first overtime period (at the time two three-minute overtimes were played) was enough for the “blues” to secure the victory by scoring two goals, as their rivals failed to overcome Yugoslavia’s goalie Stipanić. The scorers were Marović (5), Sandić (3), Bonačić (3), Janković (1) and Trumbić (1). Zoran Janković set what remains an unparalleled record: he is the only water polo player to score 10 goal in a single game. The record was set in a match against Japan, in which the “blues” triumphed with 17:2. Head coach Aleksandar Sajfert led the team, and as only 11 player were presented with medals, the second goalkeeper Zdravko Hebel was denied his Olympic gold.

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