Slovenia – a first-class host of sporting events in bubbles

Published: 21.1.2021

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Slovenia – a first-class host of sporting events in bubbles

Slovenia excelles in the organisation of the sporting events in a "bubble" system. Read about the events that have already taken place and the ones that will. In a bubble, of course. Also, take a look at the inspiring video.

Slovenia – a first-class host of sporting events in bubbles

The term »bubble« has become important in sports during the Covid-19 pandemic. In Slovenia, a number of sporting events in the so-called bubbles, i.e. facilities where athletes can stay and compete away from the public eye and under the heightened safety measures, has already taken place and many still will. Take a look at the inspiring video, showcasing Slovenia as a top destination for sporting events - also the ones held in a bubble. This is a joint project of the Slovenian Tourist Board and The Slovenian Basketball Federation (KZS):

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In the basketball bubble Slovenia hosted the tournament as part of the EuroBasket 2022 qualifiers, where Slovenian national team secured a berth with two wins. Slovenian basketball players are going to defend the gold medal from the 2017 European Championship in 2022. Another great triumph in terms of organisation of sporting events in "a bubble" was achieved by hosting the FIS Ski Flying World Championship in Planica in December. In both cases, the organisers managed to provide an efficient anti-epidemic bubble, where the health and safety of the participating athletes and their teams were the priority.

Slovenia is the country of sports heroes and we take pride in organizing sporting events on the top level. Peter Prevc is our sky flying champion. This Eagle was undefeatable in the 2015/16 season, when he broke the world record in the valley under Ponce and thrilled fans by winning the crystal globe for the first place in overall World Cup standings. In the team event of this year's World Cup, he helped Slovenia’s team to place well with two excellent flights. Planica was also the place where the first steps in his future sports career were made by today’s best cyclist in the world Primož Roglič. He used to be a ski jumper before he sat on a bike.

Exceptional basketball bubble tournaments in Stožice Arena

Hosting the EuroBasket 2022 qualifiers in a basketball bubble, Slovenia proved to be an exceptional destination for the top-level international sporting events, no matter the circumstances. A hotel in Ljubljana, the green capital of Europe, followed a special health protocol and accommodated almost 200 basketball players. Every team had its own floor, dining room, conference room and a special room for fitness. Athletes could only meet with other players from their own team and slept in single rooms. With organized transfer and a frequently tested driver, they took a short drive to the Stožice Arena twice a day. Participants spent the whole qualification cycle, from 22 November to 1 December 2020, in a protected environment, isolated from the outside world. Stožice were one of the eight European bubbles, created in compliance with International Basketball Federation (FIBA) health protocols. The Slovenian Tourist Board made sure to bring some positive energy and invited followers to send encouraging messages for the players through the social media by joining campaign "Daleč skupaj" (Far but together), launched by The Basketball Federation of Slovenia (KZS). The two biggest Slovenian superstars, who play in the NBA, the most elite basketball competition, did not step on the court this time. Goran Dragić, captain of the Miami Heat, bid his farewell to the National team after winning the EuroBasket title in 2017, while Luka Dončić was not allowed to join the team, since the Dallas Mavericks needed him to participate in their training camp.

Qualifications for Women's European Championship 2021 are another important basketball "bubble" event in Stožice that will take place from 31 January to 7 February. Also with this event, the same protocol as for the Eurobasket qualifiers will be followed.

This is the last qualifying round for the 2021 Women's European Championship. So far, Slovenian team has done a great job; with four wins and no defeats they stand good chances for qualifying for the European Championship. Next to Slovenia, teams from Greece, Bulgaria and Iceland will also participate. Games of the Slovenian national team will take place on 4 February at 4:15pm and 6 February at 4pm. 

Spectators from abroad will have a chance to watch the games on the FIBA YouTube Channel (for Slovenians, Kanal A tv programme will broadcast them).  

Planica – the snow queen of sky flying

The organization of FIS Ski Flying World Championship, which took place in Planica from 10 to 13 December, was on the highest level. The event was unique in every aspect, also despite the ongoing health situation. Besides competitions being held in a bubble without spectators, considering all necessary safety measures, organizers successfully dealt with other challenging tasks. As the competition was held in late afternoon hours, they had to use floodlights to light up the flying hill. This had never happened before in the history of Planica. Another recognition to the organizers in Planica to have managed the event successfully was a request from International Ski Federation (FIS) to host some other events. With exceptional tradition, experience, and devotion they proved that they are almost unrivalled. Every year spectators from all over Europe, with the loudest Slovenian fans at the forefront of the stadium bellow the large hill of Planica Nordic Centre, create a roaring atmosphere. This time, the valley under Ponce was closed for spectators, making us aware what is the soul of Planica that adds a real sparkle to the event. There remains a hope to see a crowded stadium again in March 2021, when Planica turns into venue for the Ski Jumping World Cup Finals, and its shining in all the glory soon.

The 57th edition of The Golden Fox Audi FIS World Cup

Maribor slopes are lacking snow, Kranjska Gora is dealing with too much snow. Podkoren slope requires surface hardening.

Also the 57th edition of the Golden Fox Audi FIS World Cup was held in a bubble last weekend. Since Maribor lacked snow, the event moved to Kranjska Gora, the same as last year, with the only difference being that there were no spectators on the venue. 24 teams and 80 racers registered and the event itself was a major success. Srečko Vilar, General Secretary of the 57th Golden Fox Organization committee said on this occassion: "We succeeded! From the organizational point of view and race results. When Meta Hrovat won the third place, we know that the event was worth all the efforts."

Slovenia is ready for hosting Biathlon World Cup

In February 2021, The Biathlon World Cup will be held in Pokljuka – a popular destination for cross-country skiing. We are continuing a rich tradition of biathlon competitions in Slovenia. Our best biathlete Jakov Fak with eight victories in the World Cup and participating in the last three Winter Olympics, is highly motivated to take part in the battle for medals. World Cup will be held under specific conditions, taking into account epidemics. Slovenian organizers will strive for one of the biggest winter sporting events in our country to run smooth as a soap bubble. Measures will not change much from those in other sports. Regulations for the containment of Coronavirus will be strictly followed, teams will be separated, competitors will be provided with individual accommodation, meals and transfer.

Even with the biggest sporting events not being overwhelmed with the same roaring atmosphere, they still bring positive news to Europe and the world, which is in the need of those right now. Last weekend, The Slovenian Tourist Board takes a great pride in being a part of these sports stories.





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