Zagreb, September 10, 2016 - At the ceremony, broadcasted live on Sports Television (which celebrates this year its fifth anniversary), presenting the IOC President’s Award “Sky is the limit” to the President of the Croatian Olympic Committee, the Head of the International Olympic Committee Thomas Bach addressed the guests and said: "It is my great pleasure to be here at a special ceremony of Croatian sports and for me personally, as the celebration of 25th anniversary of establishment of the Croatian Olympic Committee is an emotional event for me because I remember my first visit to Croatia in 1992 in a very difficult time for this country. However, even then Croatia was an important member of the International Olympic Committee. Your athletes are an additional, even greater reason for my pleasure; you can be very proud of the results they achieved in Rio de Janeiro. Congratulations to Croatia! ", said Bach and continued:
"Such successes do not fall from the sky. They require a lot of effort, but also strong and dynamic Olympic Committee under the excellent leadership of my friend Zlatko. Today I have had the opportunity to learn the secret of your success. In addition to the athletes and coaches, it lies in the families, friends and fans and your Vice-President told me this morning said that Croatia might be a small country, but it has a big heart and I think that the secret of your success lies exactly there. Because, to become successful in sports one must have a big heart, passion and love for his sport, dedication, perseverance, and you have shown all of that this in Rio.
You can be very proud of the past 25 years. However, knowing you and Zlatko, as well as some athletes I met today, I know that you are well aware that the achieved successes are only the basis for further successes in the future and that you are already preparing for the Tokyo 2020.
Before arriving in Zagreb, I spent for some time thinking about what should I give to the Croatian Olympic Committee as both congratulation and recognition for achieved successes and as encouragement for future successes. The result of all this thinking is the Award of the IOC President. Its name is Sky is the limit and therefore I am presenting you the same with belief that for all the Croatian athletes only sky is the limit. "
Receiving the IOC Award on behalf of the Croatian Olympic family, the president of the Croatian Olympic Committee Mateša highlighted that the award belongs not only to all the Croatian athletes, past and present, but that it also represents the encouragement for the new generations of Croatian athletes.