© Henk Swinkels

Ratko Rudic resigns

Croatian national team head coach Ratko Rudic has resigned from his job, as was announced today at a special press conference in the city of Zagreb, Croatia. After eight years with the Croatian national team, and thirty years as a coach, Rudic told the gathered media 'it was enough'. The four-time Olympic champion is the most successful coach in water polo history having won over 36 medals at major events and even gained an Olympic silver medal at the 1980 Games in Moscow, then Soviet Union, as a player. In his final stint, with the Croatian national team, Rudic let the squad to a World championship (2007, Melbourne), European championship (2010, Zagreb), 2012 FINA World League Super Final victory last June and ultimately the Olympic triump in London last summer.

It was not the first Olympic gold medal for the 64-year old who had already won Olympic titles as head coach with the teams from Yugoslavia (1984 and '88) and Italy (1992). Rudic will step down from coaching jobs but will continue working for Croatian Water Polo as an advisor/mentor. A successor was not announced but is likely to be one of Rudic' former assistants with Ivica Tucak mentioned as the main candidate to take over Croatia's national team head coach duties.
Ratko's final Olmypic apperance at the London Water Polo Arena still set two records in the annals of this sport. He is the first head coach to take part in eight Olympic Games, passing the Spaniard Andres Zoloymy with his seven tours with Spain and Italy between 1948 and 1972. And Rudic took his fourth Olympic gold medal since three consecutive triumphs between 1984 and 1992 which had been levelled by Hungary's Denes Kemeny and the winning streak of Hungary's golden generation between 2000 and 2008.

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