February 17 2006
Olympic Spirit Bus
17/02/2006 - Jurij Franko, giant slalom silver medallist at the 1984 Winter Olympic Games in Sarajevo, is making it possible for children from SOS Children's Village Sarajevo to spend four days at the XX Winter Olympic Games in Turin, Italy.
On 18 February 2006 the children will depart Sarajevo aboard an Olympic Spirit Bus organized by Jurij Franko. In Nova Gorcia, Slovenia, the "junior Olympic delegation" will pick up an additional 15 children from Slovenia, then travel to the Italian town of Gorizia, where they will pick up another 15 children.
The children will visit the Olympic Village in Sestriere and attend the men's giant slalom race on 20 February. If that isn't Olympic spirit enough, they will have a chance to hang out with two Italian ski legends: Olympic champions Piero Gros and the great Alberto Tomba.
Olympic Goodwill Relay
The idea for this adventure is truly Olympian. On 20 January Franko, the first Slovenian Olympic medallist in winter sports, was given the great honour of becoming the first Olympic torchbearer in Slovenia. When Franko passed the torch, he decided to pass on the Olympic spirit as well.
"I thought it was a very good idea and in a true Olympic spirit from the Italian side to bring the flame to Slovenia and Austria. So I came up with an idea to spread some goodwill and friendship in return," wrote Franko to the Secretary-General of the Bosnian Ski Federation, Zlatko Hrnjic, explaining his idea to take 45 less privileged school children from Sarajevo, Gorizia and Nova Gorica to Turin.
Zlatko Hrnjic and the President of the Bosnian Ski Federation, Marko Petrovic, presented the offer to SOS Children's Village Sarajevo. "Nobody deserves to experience the Olympic atmosphere more than the children of SOS Children's Village Sarajevo," said Hrnjic. "I am very happy that Jure offered [them] this opportunity."
Treat for a Champion
The atmosphere surrounding our Olympic "delegation" is wonderful. Sabrina, Vedran, Neven, Sanela, Amina, Denis, Nejra, Admir, Emir, Milan, Seada, Haris, Semir, Taiba and Amir are especially happy that the great Jure Franko will be their guest in the village and then accompany them throughout the entire trip.
"Two years ago I heard someone saying, 'We love Jurek more than burek'." remembers 10-year-old Vedran. "Uncle Damir (Village schoolmaster) told me that Jure Franko won the first medal ever for former Yugoslavia at the Winter Olympics in Sarajevo. Since then everyone here has loved Jure more than our favourite food - burek."
"He won the medal on 14 February 1984 at the giant slalom race on the mountain slopes of Bjelashnica, where we go skiing," Taiba is meticulous fan. "When he comes to our village my [SOS] mother will make him burek!" Did Jurek like the burek and exactly how much did the children enjoy the trip? We'll find out when they come back...