The world championship in high jumps, Croatian athlete Blanka Vlasic, spoke on August 2, and shared her testimony with the Youth Festival participants in Medjugorje. She spoke about her life, her career and the moment of her conversion, faith in God and how much He means to her.
It all started when I had the injury, says Blanka, and due to the pain she was becoming more depressed. Whenever I would not be successful, I would lock myself in the room for three days, so no one would see me or hear me. High jumps were my identity and the lack of success was making me unworthy. This depression state increased so much and I felt such a pressure in my chest and was not able to breath. In my head, I already made a list of the worst possible medical conditions I might have. I did not want to talk to anyone about my injury, or pain, or what I was going through. Just like many youth of my age, the sacrament of Holy Confirmation was for me the time when I stopped going to the Church. I am ashamed for being like I was, I am ashamed because I was turning my back to God all the time, and yet somehow I knew He was there. Then, a friend of mine called me and said how he lit a candle for me in the church of St. Anthony. Later on I was thinking, I could do the same, perhaps something might change, and I continued with that practice for two months, without any special prayers. Nothing was changing, but that was surely preparation for conversion.
Surely, in all of this, the experience of her brother’s conversion was significant too and this also happened when he injured himself. Once, during the training, she complained about the pain in the chest and her brother began to speak to her about God. This was so unbelievable for her, but that is when she had her conversion moment and she wept for three days, but she also started to turn more and more to Jesus after that time. Sometimes it seemed to her that her opponents in the high jump were so horrified when they would see her that it made them jump worse. Blanka discovered that she was happier as she was being more humble and week and to her, as professional athlete, this was deliverance by itself.
She added that this was the beginning of her new life and she became quite boring converted person who wanted to share her experience with everyone around her and help them discover the faith. At the end, she said that she entrusted all to the Lord and she still has the fear from the unknown. Now she knows that in her life she will no longer be professional athlete and this will be a huge change for her, but she leaves it all to the Lord and is certain He would do what is the best for her.
She also spoke about the last Olympic Games in Rio, where she arrived completely unprepared and injured. I wondered if there was any purpose in that, but after I won the bronze medal, I was able to see that all the pain I had was there for me to see that the Lord showed me how something does not need to be the way I thought it would be, but how he decides it would be. She spoke about her conversion and how she jumps now for the Lord. “All I do now, I am doing it for the Lord, it is no longer about me at all.” Blanka from now on lives for God and just wants to be his beloved child.