Talented people’s input in Lithuania’s future

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By Mintare Norkute (1996)Silutes pirmoji gymnasium/Lithuania

Though Lithuania is a small country, it is well-known for its history and mostly  for its people. There was a time when Lithuania had lands on the  shore of the Black sea, but there were times too, when you couldn’t find Lithuania in any maps. Though many people in the world now know Lithuania’s name, I sometimes fall into situation where I am asked: „Lithuania? I have heard of it… Is it a part of Russia?“. Yes, there was a time
when we were a part of Russia, but now we are a free country and we want to be known for what we are.

Only the citizens of the country can make it well-known for their achievements. I’m going to give you a small list of famous Lithuanians, who I am sure you have heard of:

Virgilijus Alekna is the most famous Lithuanian athlete. He has so far won two gold medals in the Summer Olympics, both in the discus throwing. The first was in 2000 and the second in 2004.

Arvydas Sabonis has been a European Player of the Year eight times, winning the Euroscar Award six times, and the Mr. Europe Award twice, as the best European player and played in a variety of leagues, including seven seasons in the National Basketball Association (NBA) in the United States. Sabonis also won a gold medal at the 1988 Summer Olympics in South Korea for the Soviet Union, and later earned  bronze medals at the 1992 and 1996 games while playing for Lithuania.

Ingeborka Dapkūnaitė is the most famous Lithuanian actress in Hollywood. She has had a number of minor roles in some top Hollywood movies including “Mission: Impossible” (1996), “Seven Years in Tibet” (1997) and in “Hannibal Rising” (2007).

Juozas Statkevičius is the most famous designer in Lithuania. His fans can find his clothing not only in Lithuania, but, also, all around the world: in Paris, New York, Chicago, Tokyo, Seoul and in other biggest world cities. He is loved by his female clients from all over the world and it proves that Lithuania has great talents from in areas (not only sports).

Jurgis Kairys is a Lithuanian aerobatic pilot and aeronautical engineer. He has won many awards for his flying and has invented several maneuvers, including the “Kairys Wheel.” He helped develop the Sukhoi Su-26, -29, and -31 aerobatic aircraft and, also, manufactured his own aerobatic aircraft, called the “Juka.”

Židrūnas Savickas is a professional mighty man. He is the only modern mighty man competitor to have won every major modern competition, most notably the World’s Strongest Man in 2009, 2010, & 2012, the Arnold Mighty Man Classic on six consecutive occasions from 2003–
2008, the IFSA Strongman World Championships in 2005 & 2006, Fortissimus in 2009, the Strongman Champions League overall title in 2008 & 2012, the World Log Lift Championships in 2008, 2009, 2011 & 2012 and Europe’s Strongest Man twice in 2010 & 2012.

In the last year the most famous person from Lithuania is a 15-year-old swimmer Rūta Meilutytė. Her achievement in 2012 London Olympic games shocked the world. Since then you can hardly find a person who hasn’t heard the name Lithuania. And every single Lithuanian in the world is very proud of and thankful to her.

The Lithuanians are also very well-known in basketball. Lithuania won bronze medals in three out of six Olympic tournaments it participated in. Lithuanian men competed in two of the pre-war European championships. They won both the EuroBasket 1937 and EuroBasket 1939 competitions. The Lithuanian team won the EuroBasket for the third time in 2003. It also won the bronze medal in the 2010 FIBA World Championship.

Lithuania has many wonderful and talented people who are continuously making Lithuania more famous. Of course, like any other country we have some disadvantages, but great achievements make up for them. Every day brings some new bright people to Lithuania and I believe that when I become old and go to other countries I wouldn’t need to explain geographic coordinates of my country. I’m sure that when they hear the name „Lithuania“ they will know that this is the land where wonderful people live.