February 1994

Nizar Zaciragic
Bob-sleigh Olympic team

‘Two days after our arrival at Lillehamer, we had a press conference, Kljujic and me. He was the president of the Olympic Committee, and then at the press conference I asked everybody present to get somebody to lend us a four-man bob, since we didn’t have one. The same night some guys from Holland phoned who asked me to give them my promise that we would compete in their bobsled, the one they competed in, in Sarajevo in ‘84. I said: ‘Of course, just pull it over to us.’ And they literally traveled for 48 hours from Holland to Norway, pulling that bob along. When they arrived, we pulled the cover off the truck, and we were all very surprised, and we acted surprised and delighted. But the bob was horrible. It was so old, I think the best team in the world would have been last in it. And on top of everything the handle was broken. Since we had no choice, we had to take that bob. In the third seat, in the second seat there was Izet Haracic and we taped the handle with Scotch tape. The Committee looked at the bob every day, trying to decide whether to let us compete in that bob or not and so on. We made jokes at our own expense, that we should wear clean shorts, in case we end up in hospital, so that we don’t embarrass ourselves. And then when we came to the race, Izet pretended to be pushing the sled. He never even pushed it. And since I was the one who had to jump into the sled after him, I always paid attention to Izet, whether he would manage to jump in. And so, at one moment, I think it was the third ride, we pushed the bob a bit longer than necessary, we wanted to improve our time and I paid attention to Izet, whether he would manage to jump in. And while he was jumping in, I slipped and fell. I got scared. I didn’t know what to do. And in one second I saw it all. How Risto Djogo from the Serb news agency will say how Nizar Zaciragic, Alija’s soldier fell and so on. Then how I would embarrass my country, my team, everybody. I jumped into the bob headfirst, then Igor Boras pushed my legs in from behind. I almost died of shame, but what was I to do. We got to the finish line and that’s the most important thing.’



• Prediction of Croatian President Franjo Tudjman: Bosnia and Herzegovina is possible only as a NATO base.

• Sarajevo visited by the president of the Turkish government, Tansu Ciller, and the president of Pakistan, Benazir Bhutto. From Sarajevo, the two presidents send universal messages to the world about civilization, tolerance and coexistence.

• Massacre of civilians at the football field in Dobrinja.
• UPI, the agricultural directorate, provides tips on raising plants in an apartment.

• Massacre at the marketplace "Markale" in downtown Sarajevo. 66 dead, 197 wounded. Reactions across the world: NATO Secretary General William Claes: "Attack!" The U.S.: "First, we need to determine who fired the shell." The Minister of Foreign Affairs of the U.K., Douglas Hurd, "We need to return to negotiations." UN Secretary General, Boutros Boutros-Ghali: "An abhorrent act of violence."

• The Mayor of Sarajevo, Muhamed Kresevljakovic, tours the marketplace - the site of the massacre - with the UN General Michael Rose, Yasushi Akashi, and Jean Cote. Akashi asks for a complete ceasefire.
• BiH authorities demand that the Bosnian Serbs remove their artillery from the surrounding hills. The Bosnian Serbs refuse to withdraw their guns.
• By order of the police (MUP), all the markets in the city are closed.

• Statement of the Croatian government regarding possible sanctions for Croatia due to the entry of the Croatian army in Bosnia and Herzegovina: "If Croatia is hit with sanctions we will expel all of our Bosnian refugees to the countries which support these sanctions."

• The French Foreign Minister Allain Juppé demands decisive action or the withdrawal of troops.
• In Paris, a demonstration for the lifting of the siege of Sarajevo. The philosopher Bernard Henri-Levy organizes the demonstration.
• SDS leader Radovan Karadzic seeks an immediate expert investigation of the shell crater at the "Markale" market and autopsies of the victims: "The fate of all nations, as well as the fate of Europe itself, now depends on it."

• NATO sends an ultimatum to the Bosnian Serbs: Ordnance must withdraw to 20 km from Sarajevo. If not, air strikes will follow. On this occasion, the U.S. president, Bill Clinton, says: "With NATO's decision, the United States has shown it will no longer be only an observer to a conflict that offends the conscience and endangers peace."
• A UN team of experts makes a ballistic analysis: "The direction from which the missile approached was approximately at an angle of 18 degrees between north and east, which corresponds to the wider region of Mrkovici, which was controlled by the Bosnian Serbs."
• The U.S. recognizes Macedonia.

• UN troops are placed along the line of demarcation.

• Stocks fall on European stock exchanges: world capital concerns over the possible eruption of conflict in the former Yugoslavia.

• Negotiations in Geneva fail. Thorvald Stoltenberg: "Will the Serbs withdraw from territories that the Muslims are asking for? We were unable to resolve this issue. In late February or early March we expect to continue negotiations. "
• BH Olympians participate in the Winter Olympics in Lillehammer.

• The Bosnian Serbs halt the handover of heavy weapons, setting new conditions. "Hercules" planes monitor them by night and locate places where the Bosnian Serbs are hiding weapons.
• Croatia lays out requirements for the withdrawal of the Croatian army in Bosnia: They request that the UN insure the security of the Croat enclave in central Bosnia.

• U.S. President Bill Clinton and Russian President Boris Yeltsin meet: They agree on their respective roles: the U.S. will influence the Muslims and the Russians the Serbs.
• Meeting between Akashi, UN and NATO representatives. They discuss air strikes. UN Secretary General Boutros Boutros-Ghali gives authorization to Akashi to perform the strikes. Officials at embassies are leaving Belgrade because of the danger of attacks.

• February 21st is D-Day for the withdrawal of the Bosnian Serbs′ heavy artillery. The procedure for the strike and the beginning of the strike: Commander of UNPROFOR, General Michael Rose, revokes the strike, while Yasushi Akashi approves the strike. British Prime Minister John Major has the task of convincing the Russian president, Boris Yeltsin that the Brussels ultimatum does not mean that the West is leaning toward the government in Sarajevo, but rather is an effort to end the massacre and terror against civilians.
• In Sarajevo, a new round of humanitarian aid, containing: 1,250 grams of beans, 333 grams of oil, 300 grams of sugar, 1 kilogram of flour.
• Sarajevo doctors complement professional medical nomenclature: dispersio corporis or total disappearance of individuals from the effects of an explosion.

• The commander of the Bosnian Serb army, Ratko Mladic: "We will not withdraw our weapons, we will not leave our people defenseless before fanatical Muslim units." Radovan Karadzic, leader of the SDS, "The Atlantic Alliance wants to show its power to the Russians over the Serbs. This could lead to World War III, and the Serbs have never lost a war.”
• China is against attacks.

• Juan Antonio Samaranch visits the former Olympic city, Sarajevo.

• Vitali Churkin hands a letter to Yeltsin requesting the Serbs withdraw their weapons in order to stop the bloodshed. The Serbs promise to withdraw their weapons.

• Clinton rejects Yeltsin's proposal for holding an international conference on Bosnia. In the future, yes, but not now.

• UN checkpoints where the heavy artillery of the Bosnian Serbs is kept are guarded by 10 UN soldiers. The checkpoints are located in populated areas making air strikes impossible. Even if the international community wanted to perform an intervention over these weapons, they would not be able to do it.

• Manfred Woerner, NATO Secretary General: "We will follow the recommendations of Akashi, Rose and Cote not to carry out a strike, but if they attack Sarajevo we will intervene."
• Russia has a diplomatic breakthrough. A Russian UN battalion arrives in Pale, the capital of the Bosnian Serbs. Radovan Karadzic: "With the Russians beside us, we have nothing to fear."
• Question from journalists for UNPROFOR General Michael Rose: "What will you do one hour after midnight, when the ultimatum expires?" Rose: "I'll be in bed."
• Radovan Karadzic: "We'll shoot back if we‘re attacked."

• In an interview for TV BiH, Alija Izetbegovic states, "They have retreated, and it is our victory, because they are not killing us anymore. You can let your kids go skating freely, they can go to school. "
• Moscow: "This is our diplomatic victory. The ultimatum has not been strictly respected, and a penalty has not been imposed. "
• Re-establishment of the "air bridge."

• In Washington, negotiations start between the Croats and Muslims on the establishment of the federation.

• The UN Security Council discusses the French proposal of lifting the siege of Sarajevo and setting up a civilian administrator.
• Life returns to the city. People walk on the streets, children play.


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.