Sport, apart from possessing ethical, aesthetic, moral and health attributes, also undoubtedly has an ambassadorial role in any community. International co-operation through sports competitions and organisational association, as well as the excellent results of sportsmen, lift the standing of the community that is represented.
Croatian sport enjoys international prestige and respect thanks largely to a series of sporting achievements dating back to earlier years, but also to the smooth blending of Croatia into the World Olympic movement as an independent community. Sportsmen like Dražen Petrović, the first recognised Croatian basketball player to play in the NBA and to whom a monument was erected in the park of the Olympic museum in Lausanne, in recognition of his contribution to the Olympic movement, and other recognised names of Croatian sport remain a constant impetus to sport and the community.
With the founding of the Croatian Olympic Committee (COC) in 1991, the highest national sporting body, the conditions were set for the notable progress of the Croatian Olympic movement. The first steps were taken only 22 days after recognition, with an initiative to compete at the winter Olympics in Albertville in 1992. That same year at the Olympic Games in Barcelona, the Croatian basketball team won the silver medal, whilst Goran Ivanišević, Wimbledon champion in 2001, won 2 bronze medals (in singles and in doubles with Goran Prpić).
The historical turning point for Croatian alpine skiing was definitely the winter Olympic Games in Salt Lake City in 2002. Up until then, Croatian representatives had never taken a medal at winter Olympic Games. Four Olympic medals to Janica Kostelić, three gold and one silver, united the world sporting community in recognising the great potential of Croatian sport.