Slovenia as the big winner of the Olympic Games

Published: 21.2.2011

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Slovenia as the big winner of the Olympic Games

"What happened was a Slovenian fairytale," numerous Slovenian and foreign reporters are saying about Slovenia’s phenomenal success and its 8 medals in Sochi. Many people agree that Slovenia is the big winner of the winter Olympic Games.

Slovenia as the big winner of the Olympic Games

Why everyone talked about Slochi and the Slovenians in Sochi

"What happened was a Slovenian fairytale," numerous Slovenian and foreign reporters are saying about Slovenia’s phenomenal success and its 8 medals in Sochi. Many people agree that Slovenia is the big winner of the winter Olympic Games. The highest number of medals collected by the largest countries – this year the host, Russia, won the overall medal count – does not suffice for an overall win and the title of the most successful participating country. Slovenia stole the show in Sochi.

The sudden explosion of success as the Slovenian athletes received five medals in just the first week of the Olympic Games and then completed the collection with a further three medals, echoed throughout Russia and the world. When Tina Maze, the ambassador of the "I feel Slovenia" brand and the alpine snow queen, won her second gold medal and the Slovenian national anthem blared from the speakers for the second time, euphoria was at its height. In the decisive moments for Slovenian biathletes, cross-country skiers, hockey players, ski jumpers, alpine skiers and snowboarders, work in Slovenia virtually came to a halt. At the Olympics, Sochi was renamed Slochi, which became the official hashtag of the Slovenian Olympic squad on Twitter.

A special study conducted by ValuePenguin, which ranked Slovenia number one among all the participating nations, used the criterion of "citizens per medal point" where Slovenia earned one point for every 147,011 citizens, while the USA, for instance, earned one point for as many as 5,922,906 inhabitants. Aside from that, Slovenia was the second smallest country to medal at the Games and the country with the 10th warmest climate among the participating countries. In this regard a web user wrote: "Small country, big potentialities. That’s the spirit of the Olympics!" However, not only did the incredible results of the Slovenian athletes fill the pages of the international print and electronic media, but also their sincerity and pluck. The eight medals for Slovenia won by the spirited Slovenian Olympic athletes are an unprecedented success.

Sochi will thus go down in the history of Slovenian alpine skiing, snowboarding, biathlon, ski jumping and cross-country skiing with golden letters. The two-time gold medallist Tina Maze landed an incredible success. This is a record for Slovenian alpine skiing as before Sochi our athletes had never won a gold medal at the Winter Olympic Games. Apart from the Swiss Marie-Theres Nadig, Tina Maze is the only skier to have won Gold in both the downhill and giant slalom at the Olympic Games. The Guardian had this to write about the fighting spirit of our golden Tina Maze: "Tina Maze skied through rain and snow to win Olympic gold." The president of Slovenia, Borut Pahor, hailed her achievements by saying: "Success is meant for fighters, and you are the fighter of our hearts."

With an excellent ski jump, Peter Prevc won the first Silver medal for Slovenia at these Games and later topped off his Olympic journey with Bronze, thus becoming one of the flagships of Slovenian success in Sochi. His achievement is nothing unusual as Slovenia has a strong ski jumping tradition. This is also demonstrated by the Photography Exhibition currently being held in Ljubljana Castle (13.2. – 13.4.), celebrating the 80th anniversary of the first large ski jumping hill in Planica with seventy-six photographs taken in the period between 1934 and 1990.

Apart from Prevc, an amazing sporting story was written by Vesna Fabjan and Teja Gregorin, who both won Bronze on the same day. The first ever Slovenian medal in biathlon has particular historical significance. Slovenia was also overjoyed with the successes of Žan Košir, an athlete from the town of Tržič, who snowboarded his way to two Olympic medals just like Maze and Prevc, relaxing at the thought that nobody would ever criticise him again for not being a person for big competitions.

Although medal winners are naturally at the forefront, Slovenia is also proud of all the other athletes who competed and compiled an amazing number of top-twenty finishes. Slovenian hockey players, making their first appearance at the Olympics, became an Olympic phenomenon and lived up to their nickname, the Lynxes as they are called by their fans. With just a little over 150 officially registered hockey players, Slovenia finished seventh at the Olympic tournament, notching up a remarkable success. "Slovenia’s win against Slovakia was highly unexpected and clearly a cause for major celebration in a smaller country with a population of roughly 2 million people," wrote a journalist of USA Today, comparing this win over Slovakia with the American Miracle on Ice.

At the presentation of the Slovenian Olympic expedition just before leaving for Sochi, the President of the Olympic Committee of Slovenia, Janez Kocijančič, who is stepping down from his function this year, gave the following words of encouragement: "This is the strongest Slovenian Olympic team in history." But he probably did not imagine that the results of the Slovenian athletes at the 22nd Winter Olympics would place them on Mount Olympus of the sporting elite.

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