A BOB-SLEIGH ON FIRE // 12. 1993.

December 1993

Zdravko Stojnic

‘One of our bobsleds, the one that we brought back from France from the Olympic Games at Alberville, burned up in the stadium at Grbavica. Those seven old bobsleds that were on Trebevic were also destroyed. So the situation was that we had a team, but we didn't have the proper conditions for training here in Sarajevo. And we had no guarantee that we would be able to get out. We had no bobsled, and so on. So at that point it seemed incomprehensible that we wanted to go and compete in the Olympic Games. But, I think that it was because of our, I'd call it our competitive spirit, our human quality, that we were able to prepare here in Sarajevo, and that we succeeded in going to the Olympic Games. And what is more important, I think, is that we were able to keep this team together, in which there are members of all three ethnic groups. This probably seems unimportant to other people, just as it wasn't really important to me until the beginning of the war, but after that. In general I made a point of keeping the team together, like on the platform of the Presidency in June of '92. And in the end we managed to get out. True, we left one by one, two by two, and so on. Of our ten participants in the Olympic Games in Norway there were five bobsleds, because we qualified both in the two-man and the four-man events.’



• Peace negotiations in Geneva: negotiations on maps and percentages of territory. The BiH delegation requests: access to the sea, to the Sava and to a harbor.

• Yasushi Akashi appointed Special Envoy of the UN Secretary General for the former Yugoslavia.

• UNICEF helps establish a radio-school. Classes are held over this medium.

• Rounds of humanitarian aid to the citizens of Sarajevo include: a liter of cooking oil, 300 grams of beans, 200 grams of sugar, 400 grams of mackarel, 200 grams of detergent, and 2 candles per household.

• “Opresa” opens a small store in the city with the slogan “Life is about the small things”.
• The Soros Foundation donates a piano to the organization “Nasa djeca”.

• Mate Boban, President of “Herzeg-Bosnia”, promises to close camps holding Muslims.

• Founding of counseling for psychological help: “Staying Sane in Bosnia”.

• The theft of electricity in the city goes on in different ways: setting up of illegal connections, underground cables, connecting to prioritized sources and transformers.
• The Soros Foundation finances the production of 10 tons of rat poison. The active toxin is “Sanofarm”, but because the poison is not registered by law it cannot be distributed.

• “Oslobodjenje” receives the “Sakharov” award. Zlatko Dizdarevic, journalist and editor, receives the award at the European Parliament.
• The fairytale “A Dragon in Love” is shown in one of the apartment blocks in Alipasino polje.

• The bobsled team trains for the Olympic Games in Lillehammer, but do not know how to leave Sarajevo. They train every day, lift weights and run, depending on the shelling. On average they lose 5 kg of weight. The team must borrow a bobsled because theirs is burnt.

• The Russians reveal their own peace plan. Foreign Minister Vitali Churkin travels extensively in major European cities.

• Croatian President, Franjo Tudjman, and Serbian President, Slobodan Milosevic, present a plan on the division of BiH. 33.33% would go to the Muslims and 17.5% to the Croats. Lord Owen must convey this plan to the President of the Presidency of BiH, Alija Izetbegovic.

• The Sarajevo Tobacco Factory wraps cigarettes in book pages. “Toward the History of BiH Literature” is next in line”.

• In Sarajevo Cathedral a ceremonial Christmas concert is held.
• On the occasion of Catholic Christmas, the Pope sends a message: “Let light shine on upon the suffering peoples.”

• The city lacks electricity, water and salt for bread.

• The Festival “Sarajevo Winter” organizes screening of cartoons for children.
• A kitchen opened for people working in the public and culture sectors. UNPROFOR gives them food.


The former Mandic family villa housed the American Consulate before the Olympic Games. After the Games the Olympic museum was opened in the building and it became the site of art exhibitions, the documentary film festival and a meeting place, especially in its outdoor cafe. In 1992, a few days after the mayor announced that the American Embassy would be housed in the villa, it was destroyed. First it was hit by inflammable shells and when the fire broke out, snipers and mortar shells prevented the firemen form extinguishing the flames. Its ruins were the site of several art exhibitions during the siege.