Hall of fame

more than a year ago

Ever since the Kaliterna brothers returned from Prague University to form the Hajduk soccer team in 1911, sport has played a crucial role in Split’s identity. Hajduk has been the focus of city-wide obsession for almost a century, although it is the local basketball team (winning back-to-back European trophies in 1989-1991) that has made a more profound international mark. Split has produced its fair share of individual champions, too.

Perhaps the most famous of all of Split's sports stars is Goran Ivanišević. Born in Split in 1971, Ivanišević is perhaps best known for being the only man in Wimbledon history to win the championship as a wild card, as well as his exceedingly powerful serve, which is still regarded as one of the best in the history of the game.

Blanka Vlašič did many a Croatian proud when she won Croatia its first gold medal in the World Championship in Athletics in Osaka in 2007. Vlašič is currently co-owner, with Bulgarian Lyudmila Andonova, of the record for the second-best high jump in history at 2.07m.

Fabjan Kaliterna helped found Split's Hajduk football club in 1911 and was a cornerstone of Split's sports community as he was an essential part in the creation of many sports clubs and teams around the city.

Brother of Fabijan, Luka Kaliterna was a self-trained goalkeeper who created his own innovative method of playing goal. His techniques are still in use today and are the base for training new players. He went on to become one of Hajduk's most famous and respected coaches.

Bernard Vukas was a Hajduk Split player with so many achievements and accolades to his credit that one doesn't know where to begin. He was born in Zagreb and joined the Hajduk team in 1947. During the course of his Hajduk career, he scored 300 goals and helped the team win the Yugoslavian Championship in 1950, 1952 and 1955. Vukas was the captain of the national team and represented Yugoslavia 69 times in international play, racking up 20 goals in the process. In 1955, he donned UEFA's colors to play in their Continent versus Great Britain game; in this game, Vukas scored a hat-trick as the Continental team defeated Britain four goals to one.

Frane Matošić is undoubtedly one of the best players to ever don the blue and white for Hajduk Split. He played in 739 games and scored a mind-boggling 729 goals, making his scoring record seem insurmountable. To add to his mystique, Matošić started his career with Hajduk when he was just seventeen years old. As captain of Hajduk, he commanded respect from teammates and opponents alike and, for his scoring prowess and the silver medal he helped secure in the 1948 London Olympics, Matošić was the recipient of a lifetime achievement award from the city of Split and the Croatian Olympic Committee.

Vladimir Beara was another legendary Hajduk and Crvena zvezda goalkeeper whose goalkeeping prowess made his teams winners time and time again. Between 1950 and 1960, he was on seven championship teams. In his career, he represented Yugoslavia in fifty-nine games and three world championships.

Toni Kukoč Starting his career with Split’s all-conquering Jugoplastika team in the 1980s, Kukoč moved to Treviso in Italy before becoming a member of an all-star Chicago Bulls outfit that won the NBA title three times in a row during the late 1990s. Kukoč was a key player in Croatia’s silver medal-winning team at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics.

Dino Rađa was another member of the golden Jugoplastika generation who moved west, leading Virtus Roma to European success before spending three seasons with the Boston Celtics. He is currently president of the basketball club Split.

Branko Radović, widely known as the "father of Split basketball," he helped discover and shape new players that reversed Split's basketball fortunes, turning them into one of the best teams in Yugoslavia. His hard work culminated in Split's victory at the 1971 Yugoslavian championships. Radović also represented Yugoslavia 35 times in international competition, including two European championships.

One of Branko Radović’s greatest discoveries was Rato Tvrdić who captained the Split Jugoplastika team of the Sixties and Seventies, winning two Yugoslavian championships and three Yugoslavian cups in the process. However, his winning ways weren't limited only to Yugoslavia: he won gold in the 1970 World Championship in Ljubljana; two silvers in the Montevideo and Puerto Rico World Championships in 1967 and 1974, respectively; two golds in European championships; a gold in the Mediterranean Games and a Balkan Championship.

Yet another Split basketball great was Petar Skansi, who represented Yugoslavia in international play for five years. His shining moment came at the World Championship in Ljubljana when he was named one of the top five players in the world.

Đurđica Bjedov, a swimmer for Split's Mornar club, shocked the city when she won two Olympic medals: a gold in the 100m breaststroke and a silver in the 200m breaststroke.

Miro Mihovilović was a legendary goalkeeper for the Jadran water polo club in Split. He represented Yugoslavia 22 times in international matches and in 1934, in the European Championship, was declared the best goalkeeper in Europe; at the 1936 Olympic games in Berlin, he was hailed as the best water polo goalkeeper in the world.

Duje Bonačić, Mate Trojanović, Petar Šegvić, Velimir Valenta were rowers from the Gusar rowing club who went on to win gold in the 1952 Helsinki Olympics in the coxless fours event.

Deni Lušić was a Split native and water polo sensation who went on to represent Yugoslavia in 276 international games and Croatia in 30 games, including winning gold for Yugoslavia in the 1984 and 1988 Olympic games in Los Angeles and Seoul. He was also one of the top club players in Europe during the duration of his career.


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