Milka Babović

Oct 27, 1928 - Dec 26, 2020(92)

The mysterious Elliot

- It never occurred to me to invent something, except for that one time... -

The main advice and motto of the great Croatian sports journalist and athlete Milka Babović was the following: - It never occurred to me to invent something, to not double-check some information. People want accuracy, that they can trust a journalist, and that is perhaps the only advice I have for young colleagues. However, the exception proves the rule. On one occasion, Milka told an anecdote about her first and last little journalistic lie.

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At the time when Milka Babović commented on her first sports races, broadcasts of sports competitions were not as simple as they are today. Each broadcast required a lot of research and preparation, because Yugoslav journalists often did not even have the start lists from world competitions available.

They would catch up to it by listening to live broadcasts in foreign languages. They watched closely as foreign reporters broadcast the first series of the competition. They had a piece of paper in front of them on which they prepared the starting numbers and during the competition they would write down the names of the athletes. Thus, in their reporting, it seemed that they were handling all the important information.

On one occasion, Milka listened to the broadcast of a world competition in parallel and reported on it. The reporter, a Swiss, was extremely incomprehensible. He said that "so-and-so" is performing for Canada. Milka didn't understand anything. In a split second, she had to tell her listeners who was performing, even though she didn't know it herself. – Canadian Elliot performs at number 4. – she said confidently, not knowing who Elliot was or where the name came from in her mind. But the smart Milka also wrote her name on the start list. Thus, in the second and third series, "dwelling Elliot" performed for Canada.

The famous reporter knew that if she, who knows most of the sports names, didn't know who could be Canada's competitor, no one would. And he didn't know. For years, no one discovered that Milka made up the contestant's name, until she told the anecdote herself.

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