YU_SPORT_1: Re: "Slovenci" i Olimpijada

Re: "Slovenci" i Olimpijada

Vlado Bevc (ako@crl.com)
30 Jul 1996 13:10:45 -0700

Suman Bandrapaill wrote in The Christian Science Monitor, July 10,
1996, page 15:


"LEON STUKELJ is a Slovenian legend. Nearly as old as the Summer
Games, Mr. Stukelj is the world's oldest Olympic champion."

"Daily, this once-renowned gymnast strolls to a public park in his
native Maribor, an oasis of peace in the turbulent Balkans. There
he sits on a bench an gently moves his hands and feet, around and
around, up and down."

""This enables him to do the 'L-Seat' exercise on a chair," says
Rajko Sugman, a Slovenian sports official. "Physical exercises
are still Mr. Stukelj's major daily concern.""

"Some 75 years ago, Stukelj made his international gymnastics
debut, swinging and swirling around bars and rings."

"This week, the Grand Old Man of the Olympic movement is finalizing
plans to attend the Centenial Games in Atlanta. He has been invited
as a special guest by International Olympic Committee president Juan
Antonio Samaranch."

"In 1922, Stukelj won three gold medals at the World Gymnastics
Championships in the Slovenian capital, Ljubljana. Two summers
later, he carried that form to the Paris Olympics and captured
gold medals in the horizontal bars and the all-round competition."

""When I won the firrst gold medal it was a national holiday,"
recalls Stukelj in answers to questions furnished through the
Slovenian Embassy in Washington. "It was something very special
because it was the first Olympic gold medal for my country." He
won his third Olympic gold medal in 1928 in Amsterdam.""

"His most memorable Olympics experience, however, occurred in 1936
in Berlin. At those ideologically infamous Games, American
athlete Jesse Owens disproved Hitler's theory that blacks were
physically inferior."

"It was there that the Slovenian proved that age is not the
barometer for physical fitness. In a sport that seems to favor
the young, Stukelj won a silver medal in the gruelling rings that

"Last March, during the European Championships in Goslar, Germany,
the elder Olympic statesman had an emotional reunion with his
former gymnastics rival, German Alfred Schwarzmann, who beat him
to the gold at the Berlin Games. The meeting, which had been
planned for several years, brought together two pioneers of the

""The Berlin Olympics lacked in ethical values," recalls Stukelj.
"Only today when the endeavors of all people in the world towards
peace and mutual respect enjoy a general support the Olympics are
acquiring a worldwide significance.""

"After winning a total of 17 medals, eight of them gold, at the
World Championships and the Olympic Games, Stukelj bid adieu to
competitive sports and became a judge and later an attorney. Now
retired, he still remains active."

"Six years ago, Stukelj wrote his first book, "My Seven World
Championships." The book is not only an autobiographical work but
also a "reliable historical document of the world's gymnastics,"
says Sugman."

"In addition the unofficial ambassador of Slovenian sports is
officially involved in building the country's Olympic movement. He
is a founding father of the Olympic Committee of Slovenia."

"In 1987, he was awarded the Olympic Order by Samaranch and
recently the National Bank of Slovenia issued a gold coin with his

""It was my greatest satisfaction that my efforts and success
aroused so many pleasant feelings in my people," he says."

[From the book:"On The Ramparts" by Ladislav Bevc]
Here is part of Stukelj's story covering the wartime years which,
naturally, would be embarrassing for the Slovenian Embassy to pass
on considering that Slovenian Partisans had very nearly succeeded
in doing in the Slovenian Olympic Champion.

During the World War II, Stukelj was a judge in Novo Mesto,
Slovenia. In 1943, when Italy, which was occupying that part of
Slovenia, surrendered and, according to the instructions of the
Allied Expeditionary Force, handed the town over to Tito's
partisans. The partisans immediately declared a general
mobilization and Stukelj was readily drafted into the partisan
formations as a private. Because he had not joined the partisans
voluntarily and had in addition been a Sokol, a member of the Slav
gymnast and patriotic organization, the communists suspected that
Stukelj might not have the appropriate enthusiasm for their cause.
Stukelj was ordered to appear before the communist divisional
Judge Advocate Joze Rus who greeted him with the ominous words:
"We hear that there is something wrong with you!"

[Joze Rus, district judge in Ljubljana; before the war tried to
infiltrate the Sokol organization with the communists and later at
the first session of the Communist "Parliament" in Jajce proposed
that Tito be voted the title of Marshal of Yugoslavia, he became
the President of the Yugoslav rubber stamp Assembly after the war
and eventually declared a "hero." -- Milovan Djilas, in his book
Wartime, Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich, New York, 1977, p. 235,
characterized Rus as a man of rather limited limited political
potential but useful for having brought with him into the
communist fold several Sokols who had turned communists.]

When Stukelj came out of the interrogation his gun, which he had
to leave outside, was gone and he was sentenced to forced labor in
a detachment assigned to clear the rubble from sites bombed by the
Germans. Within a week or two, the Germans moved toward Novo
Mesto and the partisans, who were guarding Stukelj and other
prisoners fled in a hurry before the advancing storm troopers,
leaving the prisoners to their fate. The partisans were brave
only when it came to shooting unarmed men, women or children or
when they terrorized the civilian population but they knew better
than to stand up to the SS. When the Germans came across the
prisoners, who were clad in the partisan uniforms, they lined them
against the wall to be summarily shot. Stukelj was able to
attract the attention of the German officer, explained to him that
he was no communist, and showed him his identity card from the
Olympic Games in Berlin in 1936 signed by Adolf Hitler himself.
The German officer examined the document and decided to let
Stukelj go.

The attempt of Joze Rus and the Slovenian communists to get rid of
the "bourgeois" Olympian champion was thus thwarted and Stukelj
lived to see the golden old age and the Olympics in Atlanta. It
was the unknown German officer, who thought more highly of the
Olympic Champion than his own compatriots, and the signature of
Hitler that saved Stukelj from certain death!

Erik Zamida (erikz@abm.si) wrote:
: miha@myhost.subdomain.domain (Miha Peternel) wrote:

: >:> "Ja sam jos uvek u Kraljevini Jugoslaviji i na tu adresu upisite moje
: >:> medalje"- rekao je Stukelj stranim agencijama.
: >:> (Izvor: CPHA)

: >Prav neverjetna olimpijska sporocila prihajajo od anonimnezev is Srbije.
: >Morda v Srbiji primanjkuje prevajalcev. :))

: Prevajalci so, kako pa prevedejo, je pa drugo vprašanje. :)

: Lep dan ti zelim!
: Erik
: internet E-mail: erikz@abm.si