Damir Škaro (Croatia)
Martial Arts Legend
Damir Škaro started his boxing carrier in 1967, during his high-school days. From the beginning he showed talent, and soon after his first accomplishments began. At the Balkan championship, held in Athens, wearing sport’s uniform of the club Trešnjevka, he won a gold medal at the junior competition, in the junior light middleweight category.
As a result of his successes, from the start, Damir soon begin to compete for the national boxing team, and in consideration of his progress, he was transferred to senior competition. He left his previous boxing club and transfered to the “Borovo” boxing club in Vukovar. For that club he won the National Senior Championship title in the middleweight category in 1980. The same year he qualified for his first Olympic Games in Moscow. Unfortunately, the winner of the Olympic Games, the winner of a gold medal, Viktor Savčenko – host of Olympics, eliminated him from further competition.
After the Olympics in Moscow, Damir accomplished the following triumphs: Balkan championship in 1983 and 1984. Following that he went to his second Olympic Games, this time to Los Angeles, where at quarterfinals, very closed to a medal, he was defeated by gold medal winner Virgil Hill, again by the host of the Olympics.
He achieved an extraordinary success at the World Championship in Reno (USA) 1986, where he won a bronze medal. After that he won a gold medal at the Mediterranean Games 1987 in Syria and the flattering title “Mediterranean Champ”.
At the World championship in 1988, held in Belgrade, Damir brought home the silver medal. That 1988 was crucial in his carrier, in that year he degraded his “old rival” Virgil Hill, the one that won a gold medal at the Olympics in Los Angeles. Then, at the pre-Olympic tournament in Seoul, South Korea, he won a bronze medal, which offered a very good insight into the future development of events. Damir won bronze a medal at the Olympic Games in Seoul, October 1988, in very tough match, with broken ribs and bleeding by the eyebrow. His participation at the Olympics was ended by this match due of a string of health problems when doctors prohibited him from participating at the finals.
After Seoul, Damir, at the peak of his career, left boxing where he left a large footprint. In about 450 matches he had 12 defeats. Among celebrated Mate Parlov, and Ante Josipović, he is the only, and the last, Croatian with an Olympic medal in boxing. He is the winner of the prestigious award “Franjo Bučar” in 2007, which in only given for exceptional achievements in sports in Croatia.
With winning the Olympic medal, Damir achieved his boxing dream and returned to his first love – SOCCER – playing at numerous tournaments, called small soccer, which is played indoors on a smaller court size. In 1993 his friends from Vukovar and Borovo invited him to join them to play regular soccer for the Veteran club VUKOVAR ’91, which was competing inside of ZNS league.
With the return of refugees in 1997 to Vukovar after the Civil war, Damir transferred to another team, RIZ ODAŠILJAČI, and the team won the title of National Veteran Championship. 2002 deceased Stjepan Radić invited Damir to play for the veteran team HRVATSKI DRAGOVOLJAC, and Damir became the captain of the team and later on the president of the club. Damir’s leadership qualities and his winning élan brought the team from the bottom to the top and won them the title of National Veteran Champion four times in HNS and ZNS league.