Matija Ljubek

Matija Ljubek (Croatian pronunciation: [ʎǔbek]; 22 November 1953 – 11 October 2000) was a Croatian sprint canoeist who competed in the 1970s and 1980s and later became a sports official.[1]

Matija Ljubek
Matija Ljubek 1007.JPG
Ljubek's grave at Mirogoj Cemetery.
Personal information
Born(1953-11-22)22 November 1953
Belišće, PR Croatia, FPR Yugoslavia
Died11 October 2000(2000-10-11) (aged 46)
Valpovo, Croatia
Resting placeMirogoj Cemetery, Zagreb
Height180 cm (5 ft 11 in)
Weight85 kg (187 lb)

Born in Belišće, Osijek-Baranja, Ljubek competed in four Summer Olympics where he won four medals. This included two golds (C-1 1000 m: 1976, C-2 500 m: 1984 with Mirko Nišović), one silver (C-2 1000 m: 1984 with Mirko Nišović), and one bronze (C-1 500 m: 1976). His trainer was Laszlo Hingl. He also won ten medals at the ICF Canoe Sprint World Championships with four golds (C-1 1000 m: 1978, C-2 500 m: 1982, 1983; C-2 10000 m: 1985), three silvers (C-1 10000 m: 1981, C-2 1000 m: 1982, 1985), and three bronzes (C-1 10000 m: 1975, 1978; C-2 1000 m: 1983).

In 1976 he was awarded a Golden Badge award for best athlete of Yugoslavia.

Ljubek later became vice-president of the Croatian Olympic Committee and served as chef de mission for the Croatian Olympic team.

Ljubek died in 2000 when he was shot by an estranged brother-in-law while trying to defend his mother in Valpovo, Osijek-Baranja, six days after returning from the 2000 Summer Olympics.

Olympic resultsEdit

Olympic results
Event 1976 Montreal 1980 Moscow 1984 Los Angeles 1988 Seoul
C-1 500 metres   3rd (1:59.60) 9th (2:03.43)
C-1 1,000 metres   1st (4:09.51) 8th (4:22.40)
C-2 500 metres   1st (1:43.67)
C-2 1,000 metres 4th (3:51.30)   2nd (3:41.56) 12th (3:59.04)


  • "ICF medalists for Olympic and World Championships - Part 1: flatwater (now sprint): 1936-2007" (PDF). International Canoe Federation. Archived from the original (PDF) on 5 January 2010.
  • "ICF medalists for Olympic and World Championships – Part 2: rest of flatwater (now sprint) and remaining canoeing disciplines: 1936–2007" (PDF). International Canoe Federation. Archived from the original (PDF) on 9 November 2009. Retrieved 21 January 2009.
  • Evans, Hilary; Gjerde, Arild; Heijmans, Jeroen; Mallon, Bill; et al. "Matija Ljubek". Olympics at Sports Reference LLC. Archived from the original on 3 December 2016.
  • Wallechinsky, David and Jaime Loucky (2008). "Canoeing: Men's Canadian Singles 1000 Meters". In The Complete Book of the Olympics: 2008 Edition. London: Aurum Press Limited. p. 480.

External linksEdit

  1. ^ "Ljubek, Matija". Hrvatska enciklopedija.
Preceded by
Nenad Stekić
  The Best Athlete of Yugoslavia
Succeeded by
Šaban Sejdi
Preceded by
Nenad Stekić
Yugoslav Sportsman of the Year
Succeeded by
Šaban Sejdi
Olympic Games
Preceded by
Hrvoje Horvat
Dražen Dalipagić
Flagbearer for   Yugoslavia
Moscow 1980
Seoul 1988
Succeeded by
Dražen Dalipagić
Igor Milanović
(for   FR Yugoslavia)