102 | Olimpijske igre» Olympivc games SPORT / SPORTS right support pillar and are always drawn to proper values. I think that’s what characterised us and that’s why I’mso proud that one taekwondo club in Serbia has four Olympicmedals.That is the fruit of our effort, work, desire and love for the sport. We wouldn’t have succeeded without our families and the peoplewho love us. I’ve believed in what we were doing for so many years. None of this was in vain.” Analysing the day that she became champion, she stressed that therewas no relaxing, that she didn’t even try to relax… “I just thought, “This is it. I’malreadyfamiliarwiththis. You’ve already been in the finals of theOlympic Games!” I tried to utilise that experience from London to my advantage. I enjoyed that pressure in a way. I knew what awaitedme, bothwhenI returnedto thevillageandwhen I came home. We achieved a phenomenal success and I actually managed to ensure that the final was the easiest battle for me.” Milica enduredmany sleepless nights during preparations for her third Olympics. “There are always nerves and I don’t sleep at night before a competition, especially before the most important competitions. The games are once in four years and I really couldn't afford formountingpressure tomakeme miss anopportunity like this. I’ve always felt the greatest nervousness before the first fight. That moment when I’m warming up and preparing to go out onto the fight mat for the first time - is always the toughest.” Since Rio, Milica has been picturing only one image in her head - singing the national anthem on the podium, with a gold medal around her neck. “Visualisation is a very important part of our work. I spent most of the competition imagining what I need to do, howeverything should look. I have a picture inmy head of what I would like everything to look like, how to executethefight,howtoendtheday. Iwent throughevery fight in my head so many times, so I tried not to do anything more with that, but just to have my own routine bywhich I live. I was certainof every blow that needed to be performed and every part that needed to be fulfilled, which is an integral part of preparations.” It was difficult in Tokyo, but there have been plenty of ups and downs during Milica's career. It is easy for us just to see the good things at the end, but only Mandić and her team know everything that they went through in order to twice reach Olympic gold together. “I don't think anyone would ever say that Olympic gold can be repeated after nine years, but I can state unreservedly that last year was one of the most difficult yearsdue tothepostponementof theGames. I foundthat very difficult in the beginning; it tookme a little while to learn to deal with that and accept what was happening. Towait another year. But that’s something that sport has also taught me, to accept such situations and carry on.” Aftereverythingshe’sgonethrough,Milicahadsomething that she wanted to say: Ponosna samkada čujemda je neko zbogmene počeo da trenira tekvondo. Trudim se da propagiramprave vrednosti I’m proud when I hear that someone started training taekwondo because of me. I strive to propagate proper values “I dedicate thismedal to the peoplewho loveme and who followus.Nomatter howhappy I ambecauseof this success, I thinkthemostbeautiful part is returninghome. To those who are there and were there when it wasn't so good and now when it's the most beautiful. I dedicate it to all of those who are with us. Thank you all!” Thank you, Milica… Foto: Snežana Krstić Foto: Aleksandar Dimitrijević