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13 May 2015
IOC News

Danka Bartekova: “There’s nothing like the Olympic medal ceremony”

Slovakian skeet shooter Danka Bartekova looks back on her Olympic career and recalls the bronze she won at London 2012, where she was also elected to the IOC Athletes’ Commission.

Slovakia’s Danka Bartekova had already established herself as one of the world’s leading skeet shooters by the time she contested her first Olympic Games at Beijing 2008 at the age of 23. With seven individual and team world championship medals to her name since 2001 and a prominent figure on the ISSF World Cup scene, much was expected of her when the Beijing Games got under way.

“When I qualified for Beijing it was an amazing feeling for me and I was really looking forward to that,” she recalls. “I came to Beijing as one of the favourites for the competition and there was a little bit of pressure, a little bit of tension.”

Though the Slovakian failed to progress to the final on that occasion, her first taste of the Olympics proved to be memorable nonetheless: “It’s not all about competition, and I enjoyed the Games very, very much. What I really love about the Olympic Games is the atmosphere in the Village: people mingling, speaking, talking. It’s great to have something extra, because it’s not just a competition.

 “It’s not like the world championships where you stay in a hotel and you stay focused. You’re in the Village. You can meet new people, you can find friends, and that’s what’s really special about the Olympic Games.”

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Bartekova went on to win the European title in Nicosia (CYP) that same year and again in Kazan (RUS) in 2010, pocketing a bronze at the Worlds in Munich (GER) the same year. She then tuned up for London 2012 by winning the ISSF World Cup final in Lonato (ITA). The Slovakian carried that form over in the qualifying round of her second Olympic competition, shooting 70 to advance to the final. After amassing 20 points she tied in third place with Russia’s Marina Belikova. In the shoot-off for the bronze, Bartekova held her nerve to prevail 4-3.

“The day I won the bronze medal was very special for me, because I was preparing for it for two years,” she says. “I’d done a lot of work in advance so for me it was just waking up in the morning fresh and happy that I’m going to compete.

“After the competition I felt huge satisfaction because the work paid off. I remember the huge satisfaction in the Slovak house and I remember millions of messages and emails that I got that day. It was a great experience, and the ceremony, when I got the medal – nothing is like that.”

Having previously served as an ambassador at the inaugural Youth Olympic Games in Singapore in 2010, Bartekova was elected by her peers to the IOC Athletes’ Commission at London 2012. She began her eight-year term by taking up a place on the International Relations Commission and the Coordination Commission for the third edition of the Summer Youth Olympic Games, which will take place in the Argentinian capital, Buenos Aires in 2018.

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