Yasmina “The Goat” Tloka in the hills of Kranj
Balance Beam, Gold
In 1960 the USSR swept the medals in Artistic Gymnastics with one exception. An unorthodox balancer from Slovenia, competing for the former Yugoslavia. Nikita Khrushchev himself tried to intervene, but nothing would get Yasmina Tloka off that beam.
“They said her mother had sex with a goat, but that’s probably untrue, or if it is true, probably unrelated to her Olympic Success as a goat could not actually father a child with a human woman.” -Jim Murray
Yasmina had sporting dreams from childhood. Having grown up in the city of Kranj, near the Julian Alps, as World War II set Europe ablaze, Yasmina’s childhood seemed a million miles a way from the raging competition of global forces. Instead, hers was a childhood dedicated to scaling every mountain in the surrounding ranges. But, terrified of heights, Yasmina was forced to spend her days overcoming her fear by having for brothers Marko and Neil attempt to knock her off of Linden tree logs in the Kranj Town Square. Bearing a willowy frame, and calf muscles that could only be forged by terror balancing, she was soon discovered by local gymnastics magnate Zeijko Sizock and fast tracked for Olympic success.
Having breezed through qualification for the balance beam (she remained a specialist throughout her development) word reached the Kremlin that a young Yugoslav risked their hegemonic dominance of Artistic Gymnastics. Khrushchev personally called Tito asking him to “crush that girl’s legs in exchange for all the grains of the Ukraine.” Tito called Sizock and the Tlaka to the capitol, but Sizock came alone. Looking into Tito’s eyes he gave an impassioned plea to spare the girl in exchange for his own legs thus coining the Slovenian phrase, “Sizock it to me!” (a phrase later westernized as “Sock it To Me,” in a moment of anti-communist linguistic appropriation). Tloka would go on to win gold in Rome, and tens of thousands of Slovenians would subsequently starve to death as wheat prices spiked when supplies coming from the Ukraine dried up at Khrushchev’s behest.
“Yasmina is keener!” -John Fitzgerald Kennedy
“I am not a fan of sport.” -Richard Nixon