Golden Opportunity: Igor Vori, handball
Olympic Review continues its countdown to the 2012 Games with exclusive interviews with stars of the 26 sports on the programme, who are targeting gold in London. Croatia's Igor Vori – a gold medallist in Athens in 2004 and the 2009 IHF World Championship Player of the Tournament – is aiming for a second Olympic gold in London.
When did you start playing handball?
Quite late actually, when I was about 14 years old. I was good at football – I was a winger – but my friends started playing handball and I started with them. I couldn't do both so I stuck with handball. I don't regret my decision!
What are your Olympic memories?
Every time people talk about the Olympic Games I remember Athens in 2004. It was my debut for the international team and I was something of an unknown quantity, but I showed that you can achieve a lot when you try hard and the gold medal was a great reward.
How is training progressing for the 2012 Games?
First we have to qualify for the Games and that is almost as hard as doing well in London itself. It is not quite as easy as when we were all a bit younger and it does take a lot more effort. The most important thing is that the whole squad stays healthy.
What are you most looking forward to about London 2012?
The fact that there are a lot of great athletes together in one place and the chance to meet some of them. Only during the Olympic Games can you have lunch with Roger Federer or Usain Bolt. I was impressed by a photo of Federer taken in the Olympic Village in Beijing, where there were hundreds of journalists trying to ask him a question – he makes time for all of that.
Who will be your main rivals at the Games?
The competition intensifies every year. Denmark, Poland, Serbia, Spain and Germany are all top countries. As I said previously, it is a tough task even to get to the Games, and then to win a medal, but I am sure that Croatia can do it.
What do you know about London?
Not too much, but everybody says it has a special spirit and I would like to feel that. Maybe handball is not the most popular sport in Great Britain but I expect to have a great time in London.
What kit do you carry in your training bag?
As well as the things that I need for training, I have a little detail that reminds me of my wife and a toy that my son, Petar (18 months old), put in my bag. I take it everywhere with me.
What music do you have on your MP3 player?
I listen to anything that will make me happy and make me feel better before a match. I do prefer Croatian music, but it is not the only thing I listen to.
Who were your Olympic heroes?
In basketball Drazen Petrovic, in handball Patrik Cavar, Irfan Smajlagic and Zlatko Saracevic. Janica Kostelic has a special place in Croatian sport and from elsewhere, Federer and Michael Jordan.
Enjoy the e-zine version of the March issue of Olympic Review magazine!