No Shortcut to the Top
He was in the generation that won the world gold in 1986 in Madrid. And also the Olympic gold in Los Angeles in 1988. He was officially the best goalkeeper in the world, and many say the best of all times. In 1986, he was proclaimed the best water polo player on the planet. (...)Today, he is leading the Association whose national team has long been dominating the world water polo. He knows very well what values are built into the foundations for such successes. And he tries to transfer this knowledge to the younger ones

By: Dejan Bulajić
Photo: Guest’s Archive

There are few people to whom the sport gave full satisfaction for their efforts, as is the case with Milorad Krivokapić, formerly a trophy goalkeeper and the current president of the Water Polo Association of Serbia. During his active career, he won the Olympic and world championships, was proclaimed the best goalkeeper of the world, and now, in the role of the head of the national association, he shares the satisfaction for the incomparable number of trophies won with the golden generation of the Serbian water polo.
– We are proud of the fact that water polo is the sport that wins the most trophies, the flagship of Serbian sport. We have achieved the boldest sporting dreams, because these successes have never before been recorded on a global scale and they will hardly be surpassed. The Serbian national team is the holder of all possible trophies! The world and European champion, winner of the World League and World Cup, and the crown is the Olympic gold medal in Riga, to which our water polo had waited for twenty-eight years. All these successes are also the result of the excellent functioning of the water polo organization. We have provided optimal conditions for all national selections, in which great coaches work, headed by the great expert Dejan Savić.

For a long time people believed that a strong league is the foundation of any national team. Our sport as a whole, and water polo specifically, prove such beliefs wrong?
Our champions were born in clubs, where they received an excellent base working with top coaches, protagonists of a specific water polo school, which was in their time founded by Vlaho Orlić, Nikola Stamenić... When players mature, our clubs cannot provide them with adequate material conditions, and we are faced with the fact that already as young people they go to richer foreign leagues. However, it should not be viewed as something negative. Namely, the national team is benefiting from this, because these young men gain experience in strong competitions. I do not deny, however, that our clubs suffer, which are because of this less competitive in European cups.

Is it possible to go long-distance with such a situation or is there a risk that the system will collapse in the years to come?
That risk exists but, fortunately, the popularity of our players and the success they are achieving motivate new generations to train water polo. Clubs now have another problem – to receive all interested children. So we have a situation that we increasingly get newly established clubs, which are asked to have a competition team, at least in one selection. Despite the obvious problems, our base is expanding and it is encouraging.


When you recall your time, where do you see clear differences?
It’s difficult to compare the circumstances from the days of my active career and today. At that time, the will factor was more important and love for water polo. We were not professionals in today’s sense, we also managed to finish schools. I am not saying that the water polo players today do not play out of love, but money now plays a crucial role, everything has been commercialized. Just look at how the state is rewarding them – the awards are paid only a few days after they won the medal. The national awards won by medal winners are also great support and help from the state of Serbia.

Do we, as a community, recognize the magnitude of the achieved results, or can we be overly critical?
We are not used to being praised. We celebrated only for a few days the Olympic gold in Rio, the only one that was this generation lacked. And we have already set ourselves a new goal – to defend that gold in Tokyo in 2020! Most people from this generation also felt the other side of the medal, the nation’s discontent, when they won the seventh place at the 2013 World Cup in Barcelona. It was also a debut competition for the selector Savić. However, we did not succumb to it. When we came to the head of the Association, we gave him full support and a series of successes ensued. We won fifteen gold medals in the biggest competitions during three seasons. We must have understanding for both victories and defeats, and we should not to make sensations out of them.

Do you still feel flattered by the fact that, according to many, you are the best goalkeeper in the world of all times?
I do not like to talk much about my career. I keep my memories to myself. I also do not compare my successes with what the generations of today are accomplishing. I only regret that today there are no specialists to work with goalkeepers, as it was at the time when I was a goalkeeper. Sometimes I feel like jumping into the pool to show some techniques and tricks to these young goalkeepers, on which the future of the Serbian water polo rests. But then I snap out of it and say to myself: where does the president of the Association teaches the goalkeepers how to defend!


Are we wrong if we say that champion seed is in many people, but it sprouts only in few?
It is true, so to say. Talent is crucial in every sport, including water polo, you must have that ”gene” for this very complex game, but it is equally important, if not more important, how dedicated you are to working and learning. That ”champion seed” will be of no use if you are not ready to invest a lot of effort and train as if your life depends on it. This is the side of the sport that is mostly unknown to the public, and it will determine how much success you will achieve in your career.

You are of Montenegrin origin, and in Montenegro the spirit of victory has been nurtured through centuries. You were born on the coast, eager to discover and conquer distances. Among the Serbs you found out what the power of the team means...
You did not miss anything in that description. Montenegrins are predestined for sport, just because of that characteristic trait that they value victory above all. Born on the coast, it was logical to get involved in water sports, and as a Serb, I realized that one should always fight for a higher goal. When we put all of this together, it seems that we can get enough material for the champion’s size.

To what extent could you rely on your family’s support during your career?
I absolutely had the support of my family – I would hardly succeed without it. They were with me, cheered me up and followed every step in my career. They were probably aware of what sport means in the overall building of one’s personality, although they did not speak to me openly about that. The family always watches over the paths that lead children through life, and especially when these paths seem attractive, because they also carry a lot of risks. I believe that I have not disappointed them in this.

Are you also ready today to unconditionally support your successors on the sports path?
Not only that I am ready, but I am also doing it. Daughters were not very interested in sports, but the son is. He searched for himself in several sports, trained karate, handball for a while, but he has found himself in water polo. It’s important that I did not influence his choice at all. I see that he is persistent, he would not miss a day of training. It is strenuous for him, because he has a lot of obligations as a high school student. I do not know how far he will go, he is only sixteen years old, but I am glad that he is in sports.


Is there a risk that modern sports will increasingly turn participants into machines without emotions?
Sport plays an important role in building a personality, especially when you are young, so that you don’t get under the influence of the street and the dangers of life. Trainings and getting used to victories and defeats help you get used to life’s temptations and gain a certain discipline. Modern sport requires a complete personality, huge sacrifices. I do not know how it is in other sports, for example in football, where priceless contracts are being concluded, but when it comes to water polo players, I do not see the danger of creating machines without emotions.

Does it seem to you seem that today’s generations lack ambitions and that they are ready to lightly believe in the line of least resistance?
No, on the contrary. First of all, I can talk about new generations of athletes (besides sport, there are many life phenomena that deserve special analysis). There is no easy way to achieve top results, as this generation of water polo players does. To be at the top, you must be the best in all segments. Those who do not realize this in time are only passers-by in sports and they should better look for their place elsewhere.

How many of them manage to discover the power of friendship, as one of the most precious life experiences?
I do not know about other sports, but in water polo the strength of friendship is very pronounced. In difficult conditions such as water, without the help of a colleague, there are no results. The community is the foundation of all bold ambitions. Friendships are so strong in this national team that most of them are also tied by being best men to one another.

Is there something unfulfilled besides sport for which, because of the circumstances, did not have time?
I have been in sports practically my whole life, I am mostly satisfied and I have no regrets. Perhaps it took me away some time that I could spend more enjoying my kids growing up. I wish I spent more time with them. However, I lived abroad for a long time, and they could not join me because of the school. If I could have my say in it, I would have definitely spent more time with them. Now, fortunately, I am compensating for this because we are together.


The Best
Milorad Krivokapić’s career has been marked by numerous club and national team titles. Among them, two Olympic medals definitely stand out – silver in Moscow in 1984 and gold in Los Angeles in 1988. He was also in the generation that won gold at the World Championship in Madrid in 1986. That same year he was proclaimed the best water polo player in the world. A year earlier, the World Water Polo Association named him the best goalkeeper in the world, and many think that he is actually the best goalkeeper of all times.


The Limits of Possibility
– We cannot be dissatisfied with the overall situation in the Serbian sport. Eight Olympic medals in Riga are the best confirmation of this view. The state invests a lot in sports. Perhaps this is not enough for the functioning of the entire sport, but it is beyond the limits of the possibility, because there are also problems in other spheres of society. Local communities should invest more in clubs, for example, to allow them to use the pools for training free of charge. Perhaps we should create an even stricter categorization of sports which need more investment and support those who are the pretenders for medals at the most important competitions. I believe that the Olympic Committee of Serbia will do more in this area.


Not Allowed
– We are witnesses to an increasingly frequent use of doping in sports. Results at the world’s largest competitions are questioned because of the use of illicit substances. There have been an increased number of cases that medals are taken away from great athletes caught ”stealing with the doping”. It is lethal for sport. The Water Polo Association supports all the efforts of the Anti-Doping Agency of Serbia in combating this evil. There are regular controls at all competitions.


From now on you
can buy National Review at Trafika sales outlets

Србија - национална ревија - број 82 - руски

Србија - национална ревија - број 82 - руски

Србија - национална ревија - број 81 - руски

Србија - национална ревија - број 80 - руски

Србија - национална ревија - број 79 - руски

Србија - национална ревија - број 78 - руски

Serbia - National Review - Tourism 2020

Србија - национална ревија - Број 77

Србија - национална ревија - Број 76

Србија - национална ревија - Број 75
Србија - национална ревија - ФранкфуртСрбија - национална ревија - МоскваСрбија - национална ревија - Москва
Србија - национална ревија - ПекингСрбија - национална ревија - број 74
Србија - национална ревија - број 73

Србија - национална ревија - број 72Туризам 2019.
Србија - национална ревија - број 71
Србија - национална ревија - број 70Србија - национална ревија - број 69Србија - национална ревија - број 68Србија - национална ревија - број 67Tourism 2018
Србија - национална ревија - број 66
Serbia - National Review - No 65
Serbia - National Review - No 64Србија - национална ревија - број 63
Србија - национална ревија - број 62
Србија - национална ревија - број 61

Србија - национална ревија - број 60
Србија - национална ревија - број 59
Serbia - National Review - No 59
Serbia - National Review - No 58

Serbia - National Review - No 56
Serbia - National Review - No 55
Serbia - National Review - No 54
Tourism 2016
Српска - национална ревија - број 53
Српска - национална ревија - број 12-13
Srpska - National Review - No 12-13
Serbia - National Review - No 51

Serbia - National Review - No 49
Serbia - National Review - No 49
Serbia - National Review - No 48
Serbia - National Review - No 46
Serbia - National Review - No 46
Serbia - National Review - No 46Serbia - National Review - No 46, russianSerbia - National Review - No 45Srpska - No 6
SRPSKA - National Review - No 5Tourism 2014SRPSKA - No 2
Tourism 2013
SRPSKA - National Review - Special Edition

Battle above Centuries
Legends of Belgrade
History of the Heart


Чувар светих хумки
Србија од злата јабука - друго издање
Orthodox Reminder for 2013
Пирот - Капија Истока и Запада
Беочин - У загрљају Дунава и Фрушке Горе
Србија, друмовима, пругама, рекама
Србија од злата јабука
Туристичка библија Србије

Коридор X - Европски путеви културе
Београд у џепу
Тло Србије, Завичај римских царева
Добродошли у Србију