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Julia Dujmović wins Gold in Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games
By David Byler
Published on 02/24/2014

Saturday 22 February 2014 is a day which 26 year old Julia Dujmović will never forget. Her first run in the parallel slalom left Julia a dissapointing .72 seconds behind Anke Karstens from Germany. Julia Dujmović gave her all in the second run to overtake Karstens, pulling ahead in the course to win the gold by .12 seconds, winning the first gold medal ever for Burgenland in the Winter Olympics.

Julia Dujmović makes history bringing home the Gold for Burgenland (Gradisce in Austria)

Julia Dujmović 22 February 2014
 Reproduced under licence from BBC News / BBC Sport / - 2014 BBC (10)

Appearing for the first time in the the 2014 Winter Olympics, the tempo of parallel slalom snowboarding is much faster than the more familiar giant slalom. The parallel slalom course is 320 meters long with an 85 meter vertical drop. The race was held in the Rosa Khutor Extreme Park about 50 miles away from Sochi on the Aibga Ridge. The competitors race down hill side by side. The rider who finishes second in the first run starts the second run with the time disadvantage they incurred in the first. The rider who crosses the finish line first in the second run wins.

"SOCHI I am ready" - Julia Dujmović Tweet 1 February 2014

Julia, who is no stranger to the winner's podium was ecstatic when she came in first to win the gold medal for parallel slalom in these 2014 Sochi Winter Olympic Games. At Stoneham-et-Tewkesbury, Quebec, On 25 January 2013 she had won the silver in the FIS snowboarding World Championships. (1) In Trentino, she took the Gold at the 2013 Winter Universiade.(2) On the first of February when she placed third in the World Cup Julia Dujmović tweeted "SOCHI I am ready :-)." (3) In honor of her achievement for Austria and for the first golden victory for Burgenland (Gradisce in Austria), she was chosen to be flagbearer in the closing ceremonies of the 2014 Winter Olympics.(4)

Julia Dujmović with the flag - from her FaceBook page 22 February 2014

Julia began her sports career at nine years old. She competed in her first race when she was eleven. (5) Julia Dujmović lives in Šeškuta (Sulz), a town of about 400, near the municipality of Güssing Novigrad in Croatian) in Burgenland near the Hungarian border. Her parents, Erwin and Silvia Dujmović , and her 91-year-old grandfather were among the jubilant crowd in the fire station in Šeškuta where nearly the entire community gathered to watch on a large screen and cheer her on to victory.(6)

The Castle at Novigrad by Ulrich Prokop Herbst licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported

When Julia was born, Novigrad, population about 27000, was among the poorest districts in Austria. There was no connection to either the railway network or to the highway system. Aside from some limited agricultural and forestry endeavors, a small amount of tourism attracted by the twelfth century castle built by Hungarian nobility atop the hill overlooking the town provided the only income to the economy. Unemployment was high, those who had a job had to commute to Vienna to work and the young people were moving away. The town could no longer afford an eight million dollar bill for coal and oil for heating and electricity. (7)

Novigrad's leaders began experimenting with alternative ideas. Wood powered generators were built which worked to heat a few homes and then new biomass gasification technology was licensed to run the city's power plant using sustainable forestry techniques. Carbon Dioxide emissions are reduced 93% from 1995. Not only is the money for fuel no longer leaving the local economy, new money is coming in from electricity sold to the national grid. (8) Novigrad has 1500 new jobs and young people are envisioning themselves remaining in Gradisce in the future. (7)

These Burgenlanders are the people among whom Julia Dujmović grew up. They are hard working, enduring, imaginative, innovative and fun loving. Julia is a bright new star in their constellation. They are justifiably proud that she is one of their own.

Marko Puljić, found that Julia's family is one of those Croatian families who settled in Gradišćanskohrvatsko (Bergenland Croatia) several centuries ago. In an interview for ORF Gradišće television, Franz Dujmović said that both his mother and father were speaking Croatian but he never learned. Franz was born in Šeškuta in 1923. At twenty, in 1943, during the war years, we find him in Sochi where his grand daughter will be victorious seventy -one years later. (11)

Julia's Grandfather Franz Dujmović in Sochi. Photo from ORF Gradišće

Šeškuta is a tiny community which has had a habit of producing famous people. Not only do we have Julia Dujmović with the gold, we also have Petar Jandrišević, Croatian writer and politician who was born there in 22 February 1879.(11) Liza Jandrišević, Miss Gradišće 2009 also hails from Šeškuta.(12) Julia's brother Georg is an accomplished photographer as well.(13) Keep an eye on this community because this little group of Croats have a lot of brains, beauty, and athletic prowess.

Julia Dujmović on Sports Day in Vienna 2013 by Manfred Werner licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0

Julia Dujmović from her FaceBook page 22 February 2014

This morning, the 24th of February 2014, as she prepared to return home, she wrote in her blog: "Bye Bye SOCHI YEAHHHHHHHH"(9)

What else can we say about Julia Dujmović but "YEAHHHHHHHH"

Julia Dujmović from her FaceBook page 22 February 2014

(3) (4)
(12) (13)

The Golden Julia Dujmović with Georg Dujmović as photographer.

Did You know that the author of the verses of the Austrian national anthem (Land der Berge, Land am Strome) is of Croatian origin: Paula von Preradović (1887-1951).

Formatted for CROWN by   David Byler
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