(E) Croatian Waterpolo legend Dr. Zdravko Jezic passed away
Croatian Waterpolo legend Dr. Zdravko Jezic passed away
Umro Dr Zdravko Jezic, vrhunski hrvatski vaterpolist svih vremena
On June 19, after a long battle with cancer, Dr. Zdravko Jezic passed away
at his home in Long Island, New York. He was one of the world's best water
polo players, participating in the 1952, 1956 and 1960 Olympic Games.
Friends and family called him "Pusko."
In Helsinki, at the age of 21, Pusko carried the Yugoslav flag at the
opening ceremony. He returned with the first of two silver medals and was
elected team captain. This was the beginning of a great tradition that
continued long after Pusko retired from sports - his team Mladost Zagreb has
won seven European championships, the most for any water polo club.
Pusko was the first man to play in 100 international matches. During the Los
Angeles Games in 1984, he was the first Yugoslav player to be inducted into
the International Swimming Hall of Fame in Fort Lauderdale. His legacy was
celebrated in 2002 with the President of Croatia, at a dinner celebrating 50
years of Olympic success - only the Hungarians have won more medals in waterpolo.
This week Long Island will host a FINA water polo tournament and Croatia's
team will play against four top nations. This is in preparation for the
World Championships in Montreal and there should be a moment of silence
honoring Pusko. I've decided to bring my mother and meet with the new
generation of players and coaches. I suggested the USA - Croatia match this
In September the Jezic family will travel to Zagreb and celebrate the life
of a great man with his closest friends. We hope that Ratko and other water
polo legends will attend. As a Croatian-American fan, Pusko attended the
Olympics Games in 1972, 1984, 1988 and 1996. He loved the game of water polo
and his legacy was very real. This is a tremendous loss for my family and
we'll need your friendship during this difficult time.