Steve Rukavina


The Special Olympics World Games, the world’s largest inclusive sports event, brings together thousands of exceptional athletes with intellectual disabilities to compete in 26 sports. This nine-day extravaganza in Berlin showcases the remarkable talents and abilities of these athletes, providing an awe-inspiring platform for their remarkable achievements.

From the 17th to the 25th of June 2023, Berlin is hosting the Special Olympics World Games for the first time, marking Germany’s debut as a host nation. The vibrant city of Berlin has eagerly welcomed athletes, families, and supporters from around the globe to celebrate this momentous occasion. 

The National Federation of Croatian Americans Cultural Foundation (NFCACF) Board Members: Steve Rukavina, Judi Zivic, Joe Brajevich, Ron Zivic, and Diane Rukavina have been in Berlin, with the Croatian delegation led by Croatia’s Special Olympics President Denis Susac and National Director Franjo Horvat with the thirteen athletes participating in the competitions. 

Behind the scenes, the NFCACF stands proudly as the number one sponsor of the Croatian Special Olympics. This enduring partnership spans over eight years now and reflects the NFCACF’s unwavering commitment to supporting the outstanding activities of the Special Olympics organization in Croatia. 

Each year, the NFCACF organizes a summer fundraiser to generate funds that directly contribute to the success of the Special Olympics. This ongoing collaboration culminated in a moment of great pride when the NFCACF first played a significant role in supporting the Croatian Special Olympics delegation during the Summer World Games in Los Angeles, CA, in 2015.

Continuing their steadfast dedication, the NFCACF has once again stepped forward this year, fulfilling nearly 100% of the Croatian delegation’s financial needs. NFCACF Special Olympics Committee Chair Joseph Brajevich joined the Croatian Delegation, in the parade of athletes into the Olympic stadium in Berlin. 

Together, Croatian Americans in Berlin with Special Olympian Croatians merge the spirit of commitment, love of sports, determination, companionship, and the joy that embodies the Special Olympics movement. On Sunday, June 18th, the NFCACF delegation represented Croatia at the Founder’s Reception at Palais AM Frankturm to celebrate the spirit of Special Olympics Founder, Eunice Kennedy Shriver. 

It was an exciting first day of competition and a reception to salute the major sponsors and Honored Guests from each respective country. As of June 21st, Croatians winning medals included Petar Sipic (bronze) for the 200 meter competition and Tonci Radosevic-Predrag Centina (bronze) in bowling with men’s doubles.

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