– 21 February 2018
If you fall get up stronger
For Sedina Muhibic, skiing is everything. She fell in love with the sport at the age of six when she saw a ski race for the first time on TV at her home in the SOS Children's Village in Sarajevo.
“At that moment, my heart stopped,” recalls Sedina, now 26. “I fixed on every move, I soaked it all in.” She remembers how she would stand in front of the TV and imitate the moves of her Olympic ski heroes, such as Janica Kostelic of Croatia, Lindsey Vonn of the U.S. and Anja Pärson of Sweden.
Since then, Sedina dreamt of being an Olympian. “I would imagine myself at the start, bravely descending to the finish line, and then proudly taking the top place on the podium," she says.
But, after a promising start, her dreams of one day competing were shattered after a severe injury in 2013 appeared to end her ski career. It crushed her world.
However, five years later, Sedina is back on her feet and her spirits are high. Even as she watches the Winter Olympics taking place in Pyeongchang, South Korea from her home in Sarajevo, she is planning ways to get back into the sport.
Skiing has always been Sedina’s biggest passion. She remembers her first wish ever was to get a pair of ski goggles. Her SOS mother, Hidajeta Djonlagic, happily fulfilled that wish – and she still has those goggles to this day.
Love at first sight
Sedina and her SOS mother. Photo: SOS archives
Sedina pursued the sport, working with several coaches all of whom saw her as a promising talent. “Skiing for me is such a magnificent feeling. When I'm skiing, nothing else matters. I feel invincible, brave, and powerful,” she says.
The high hopes of the young skier came tumbling down when a training accident during a downhill run caused severe damage to her right knee. But although her dreams of becoming a champion vanished at that moment, she is not giving up.
Sedina recently had her third surgery and is currently in recovery. Right now, she is focused on finishing her master’s thesis at the University of Sarajevo on making Alpine skiing accessible to people with disabilities. She also works behind the scenes with the Croatian Ski Team as part of their support staff.
Meanwhile, Sedina is following the Winter Olympics on TV, fiercely supporting her favourites, like Lindsey Vonn, who also came back from a serious injury to compete. "It would've been nice to be in Pyeongchang as a volunteer;” she says, adding that she hopes to volunteer for the 2022 games in Beijing.
A determined young woman
Sedina has overcome adverse circumstances before. Abandoned at birth, she spent her first months as an infant in a Sarajevo orphanage before being evacuated to Germany at the start of the war in Bosnia & Herzegovina. She came back to her native country in 1997, at the age of five, and went to live at the SOS Children's Village in Sarajevo, and has fond memories of her SOS mother, Hidajeta.
"I consider myself lucky to have her as my mother;” Sedina says. “A mother is not someone who gives birth to you, but the one who raises you. She taught me the norms of good, ethical and honest behaviour. She always says that the most important thing is to be a good person. She supports me in all moments and segments of my life."
Sedina as a child and today. Photo: SOS archives
Part of a big family
"If I had to live my life again, I would choose the same one. I'd never change the friendships I made in the SOS Children's Village. We are one big family,” she says. “My biggest support is my mother, my friends and my educators.”
Sedina is proud that she grew up in an SOS Children's Village. She has many beautiful childhood memories of school, skiing, playing football, volleyball and hide-and-seek. She and her friends sang karaoke, had costume balls, tournaments, travelled and went camping.