Toward the 40th Anniversary of the ’84 Winter Olympics: Olympic Spirit Still Lives in Sarajevo

In Sarajevo, a significant milestone is being celebrated on February 8: 40 years since the 1984 Winter Olympics. The 14th Winter Olympic Games were held in Sarajevo from February 8 to February 19, 1984. According to Juan Antonio Samaranch, former president of the International Olympic Committee, they were the best-organized Winter Olympics.

As reported by the Olympic Committee of Bosnia and Herzegovina, on the path to this grand accomplishment, the capital city of BiH had to go through phases of dreaming and questioning, disbelief and doubt, convincing and confirming, and most importantly – working zeal and victorious celebration. Learn more about the history of the Sarajevo Olympics on the website of the Olympic Committee of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The 40th Anniversary of the ’84 Winter Olympics: Yet Another Reason to Visit Sarajevo in February!

This year, Sarajevo will be in a special Olympic mood with a rich cultural and sports program. During “Sarajevo Olympic Week”, activities will take place at five locations: the Olympic Museum Sarajevo, Sarajevo Street Food Market, Youth Center Skenderija, European House of Culture and National Minorities, and Bjelašnica Mountain. Activities are open to all visitors from February 9 to February 13, with more information available on the organizers’ Facebook and Instagram pages.

„Sarajevo Olympic Week“ is part of the City of Sarajevo’s 2021-2027 Development Strategy, which expresses respect for Bosnia and Herzegovina’s historical and cultural heritage, as well as a desire to showcase the capital city to the world as a city of opportunities and potential for developing sports and culture. The objective of the Olympic Museum Sarajevo, as stated on their website, is to showcase the spirit of Olympism, Olympic principles, creativity, youth, and other positive legacies of this event through sports and art. These are the elements that are consistent across all planned events.

See the calendar of activities planned from February 8 to February 18 at the link:

Mascot Vučko: Symbol of Sarajevo, Symbol of the ’84 Winter Olympics

The mascot Vučko became one of the most famous in the history of Olympic Games mascots and has remained as a vibrant symbol of Sarajevo even four decades later.

Jože Trobec, an academic painter, cartoonist, and designer, created the Olympic Vučko mascot, which has been a beloved symbol of Sarajevo for almost 40 years. Vučko was chosen as the mascot for the 1984 Winter Olympics by the main Yugoslav publications and newspapers, which led to a sensation in the mascot world. Trobec told AlJazeera Balkans that the primary idea was a wolf, a symbol of Bosnia and Herzegovina: “I drew him as a friendly and harmless character. My wife persuaded me to submit my creative work in the competition so I wouldn’t regret it later.”

As further reported by AlJazeera Balkans, the selection committee for the mascot was chaired by Mersad Berber, a famous BiH painter, and the final evaluation was given by readers of newspapers, magazines, and television viewers. On this occasion, he said:

“Initially, the wolf was perceived as a violent animal, but the bear, like Miško, is even more violent. Our wolf, with its intricate forms and lines, is a remarkable product that is comparable to the Pink Panther. This wolf embodies heroism, as the old saying goes: ‘Fight like wolves’, ‘Lonely as a wolf’. Otherwise, the jury’s initial reaction was: “Let there be a wolf in our forest too.”

(Source of quotes AlJazeera Balkans, Jože Trobec for AJB: Vučko is a phenomenon in the world of mascots)

The Winter Olympics in 1984 were the first to take place in a Slavic-speaking country. The Olympic Games brought together 1,272 participants from 49 countries to compete in six sports and ten disciplines in 39 official events. Jure Franko, a skier, won silver in the slalom, bringing Yugoslavia its first medal at the Winter Olympics. For further information, please visit the Bosnia and Herzegovina Olympic Committee’s website.

Let us recall some of the most lovely verses that surrounded the 1984 Olympics:

It was fine in Sarajevo, see you in Calgary;

Site bon, site bon a Sarajevo, au revoir, au revoir à Calgary;

It was fine in Sarajevo, see you in Calgary;

It was fine, it was fine in Sarajevo, see you in Calgary.

Our youth, our generation;

Has the right, to their share of glory;

Girls and boys from all nations;

In love, they create history.

Song about 1984 Winter Olympic Games held in Sarajevo

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