It is with great sadness that we announce that Niki Stajković, former Olympic diver and sports director of the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series, has passed away after health problems during his regular swimming routine on Friday.
Board shorts – most certainly wet, flip flops and sunglasses; tanned skin, a bright and content smile. Niki was never far from the water and one of the most laid-back characters these hectic times could use so many more of. At the same time the 57-year-old was a man of many talents – an outstanding athlete, a passionate surfer, a successful businessman. Solid as a rock.
As the World Series' sports director, he made sure that a competition's requirements were met, the rules and regulations were respected and the safety of the divers was guaranteed. He was in eye contact with each athlete in the moment before each dive and right after surfacing. He was coach, friend and mentor for the athletes, just as much as he was an authority in the world of Olympic and high diving. A great spokesperson for the sport, Niki was called into FINA's high diving committee in 2012, when the sport's governing body included the discipline in their official programme.
The foundation for his life was laid in an outdoor pool in Salzburg, Austria - Niki was only five years old when he first jumped from the 10m-platform. At the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich he was praised as the wunderkind being one of the youngest Olympic competitors ever at age 13. Four more Olympic participations followed until 1992.
A philanthropist, Niki has built up a worldwide network of true and deep friendship. Being an idol to many himself, he's always in awe for other people's achievements and dedication. Niki never pushed himself into the spotlight, but shared his wide-ranging experience with everyone who asked for advice. He knew how to live in the moment and make the most out of every minute in his life. For him it made no sense to shed tears over yesterday or be bothered about tomorrow. Niki's life happened now.
A member of the Red Bull Cliff Diving family since the very beginning, Niki will be missed by the diving community and his friends all over the world. Our thoughts are now with his wife Nicole and the whole family.