Friday, August 15, 2008

My Weekend Crush

I’m shamelessly stealing this idea from Dorothy Surrenders, whose weekend crush this weekend is: Shirley Manson.

This week, Austrian swimmer Mirna Jukic won her first Olympian medal in the 100m breaststroke race. This medal is also the first Austrian medal for the female swimming team won by a single athlete. In 1999, Mirna Jukic and her family were force to flee from war-torn Croatia to Austria. Mirna was 13 years old and the first thing she did was learn to speak German. When you hear her accent you might actually think that she was born and raised in Vienna.

In 2001, Mirna drew attention to her talent and hard work by winning her first two silver medals at the European Short Course Championships in Antwerp. Her first gold medals followed the next year at the European Championships. She continued to make a name for herself (1 bronze medal, 2 gold medals, 1 silver medal) and was voted 'Austrian Sportspersonality of the Year' in 2002.

In 2005, Mirna fell ill (Pfeiffer's disease) and had to take a break from training for a year. When she told her father, who is also her trainer, that she wanted to go back to swimming, he agreed, but stated that they would train for a medal at the Olympics. Seems to have worked out just fine.

Mirna with her father and brother Dinko, also a swimmer

Mirna seems very nice and good-natured in interviews. She is proud to be Austrian (she received the citizenship in 2000) and proud of her heritage. She is the perfect example of how immigrants can integrate themselves into society and I'm sure she also is a role model for young girls, especially athletes.

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