Photo by: Petar Fabijan
The most-awarded freediver of all times
When the famous Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt broke the 100 meters and 200 meters world records in Berlin in 2009, that event was received in the international public as a world sensation. What the “Lightning Bolt” did in the athletic arena has been done for years by a certain Croat. Only, his arena is not above, but under the sea.
He is the freediver who has received the highest number of awards in history, and his name is Goran Čolak. No, he does not come from the seaside, as one might expect. He comes from Zagreb, and he has had one of the most successful seasons of his sports career. Heaven only knows, as well as the seabed, where his limits lie. He will explain quite clearly that limits, just like human fears, are mostly just illusions and that they, at least in his case, truly do not exist.
There are no limits
“The legendary Michael Jordan, the best basketball player of all times according to many, said that when he was being accepted in the Hall of Fame. We freedivers also have a similar slogan, ‘There are no limits!’ – even though not all understand what this slogan truly means.”
Čolak watched The Big Blue when he was twelve, and this film inspired him to be bold, to set off and enter the sea depths. And even though he confirmed that his connection with Besson’s hit was truly true, even though, to him, somewhat corny now, right at the beginning of the interview, the resemblance with the mystical Jacques Mayol from Besson’s classic is more than astounding.
Certainly there are not many people who get the opportunity to meet someone who is the best and the most successful at something – at the global level, which is why it is only logical to ask Čolak how it feels to persistently aspire to be the best and what it is that drives him.
“It sounds nice to be called the best in any category, or in almost anything you care about. Perhaps even more when you are the ultimate competitive type, like myself, and believe me, I am really competitive and I have spent my entire life searching for something in which I can be better than those around me. I remember, I once took chess lessons for an entire year just because I had lost an insignificant chess game to a friend. Therefore, my mission became to beat him, so I did everything in my power to achieve that. When I was just in primary school, I had a friend with whom I played basketball. He was an excellent shooter, much better than I was at the time. I literally spent endless hours shooting hoops at the school playground until I finally could score as well as he could.”