Donna Vekic suffers mid-air fright ahead of Guadalajara victory
Sporting director Ivo Stankovic’s wife, Donna Vekic, will be remembered for her sporting achievements and her sporting prowess.
After a long career in football, she was the captain of the Australian side which won the 1966 AFC Asian Cup and the 1966 Pacific Cup.
An outstanding soccer player and an extremely competitive athlete, she was often quoted as being one of the best female soccer players in the world.
The Croatian international won two Olympic gold medals, one in 1988 in Seoul, the other in 2008 in Beijing. She also has world and European Championship medals.
In addition, the popular football club Dinamo Zagreb and the international football federation FIFA awarded Donna Vekic with dozens of honours including the FIFA World Cup, UEFA European Championship, FIVB World Championship, FIFA Women’s World Cup, Olympic gold medal and gold of the Order of the Croatian Grand Duke.
At the same time, the Australian Olympic Committee in Canberra gave its highest recognition of Vekic as the first and only female Olympic medal winner (bronze). The Australian Olympic Committee also awarded Donna with a medal and a special mention in the Australian Olympic Team of the Decade.
The Australian Sports Medal was awarded by the Australian Olympic Committee to Donna Vekic on July 12, 2010.
Despite the high recognition and honour from both domestic and international sources, Donna Vekic continues to carry the burden of fear due to the experience of a life-altering incident when she was in mid-air with nothing to hold on to.
When she left Australia after the win, she was still a member of the national team, but due to the experience of the mid-air scare she was unable to participate in any official activities until after the competition.
On July 20, 2012, the Croatian Football Federation announced that Donna Vekic was suffering from a severe back injury and that she had undergone an operation for a suspected spinal injury of seven to 10 weeks