Heroes of long-distance challenges, snowboards and skis

All of Slovenia is jumping of joy! Literally. At the greatest of winter sports events, attended by 43 Slovenian winter athletes, four of the seven Slovenian Olympic medals have been brought home by its ski jumpers. And there’s more. For the first time in the history of Slovenian sport, two Slovenian female athletes stood on the winners’ podium at the same time. The other two Slovenian medals, won in snowboarding, also tell a remarkable Olympic story – both were won on the same day in the same discipline, one in the women’s and one in the men’s competition. In a magnificent way, the Slovenian cluster of medals was complemented by a silver medal in alpine skiing.

In addition to the medals, Slovenian athletes have achieved a number of placings among the top ten, proving that Slovenia, despite its small size on the word map, is one of the great names in sport.

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slovenski olimpijci_zgodovinske dvojne stopnicke
Foto: Aleš Fevžer OKS

Slovenian medals at the Beijing 2022 Olympic Games

At the Beijing Winter Olympics, the haul of Slovenian Olympic medals has increased to 75. Slovenia has won five medals at four Olympic Games so far, and after Sochi, where Slovenia won a grand total of eight medals, Beijing is the second most successful Olympic venue for Slovenia, with seven medals won. An interesting fact is that most of the medals from the Beijing Winter Olympics were won in the first four days.

 

 

Urša Bogataj
 ski jumping, individual  

Nika Križnar, Timi Zajc, Urša Bogataj, Peter Prevc
ski jumping, mixed teams 

 

Tim Mastnak
snowboarding, parallel giant slalom

Žan Kranjec
alpine skiing, giant slalom

Lovro Kos, Cene Prevc, Timi Zajc, Peter Prevc
Lovro Kos, Cene Prevc, Timi Zajc, Peter Prevc, ski jumping, men’s team

 

Nika Križnar
ski jumping, individual

Glorija Kotnik
snowboarding, parallel giant slalom

 

slovenski olimpijci_ursa bogataj
Photo: Aleš Fevžer OKS

Urša Bogataj – the queen of the ski jumping normal hill

For Urša Bogataj, a ski jumper from Briše near Polhov Gradec, the 2021/2022 Olympic season started well. Prior to her departure to Beijing, she was the highest ranked Slovenian ski jumper in the overall World Cup standings. She had stood on the podium several times – the only thing missing was a victory. And she achieved this victory in the biggest sporting competition – the Olympic Games. With her outstanding performance and hill record of 108 metres on the HS 106 hill in Zhangjiakou, she made sure that the Slovenian National Anthem Zdravljica was played on the very first day of competition in Beijing.

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slovenski olimpijci_mesana skakalna ekipa
Photo: Aleš Fevžer OKS

A golden mixed ski jumping team

Nika Križnar, Timi Zajc, Urša Bogataj and Peter Prevc completely dominated the competition at the first ever Olympic mixed team event in ski jumping. Despite numerous disqualifications in the teams of the ski jumping superpowers, the Slovenian quartet proved from one jump to the next that it was rightly considered the main favourite to win the competition. In the end, the team won the new Olympic gold medal for Slovenia with a huge lead.

 

slovenski olimpijci_tim mastnak
Photo: Aleš Fevžer OKS

Tim Mastnak – from world champion to Olympic silver medallist

Snowboarding is a sports discipline where Slovenia has won Olympic medals every time in recent years. And if the great era of Slovenian snowboarding started with Žan Košir in Sochi and Pyeongchang, it has continued with Tim Mastnak in Beijing. The athlete from Celje already has a silver medal from the World Championships in his trophy cabinet, and during this Olympic season he had also stood on the winners’ podium in the World Cup. In Beijing he was on track to win gold, but in the end he took the silver medal, continuing the Slovenian tradition of winning Olympic snowboarding medals.

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slovenski olimpijci_zan kranjec
Photo: Aleš Fevžer OKS

Žan Kranjec – with a perfect run to the medal

The skier from Bukovica near Vodice has proved at the World Cup races on several occasions that his place is at the very top of the world skiing. During recent major competitions, he was considered to have bad luck, as he remained just short of standing on the winners' podium several times, including during the previous Winter Olympics held in PyeongChang, where he ranked fourth. However, luck smiled on him at the Olympic Yanqing ski track in China in a big way. In difficult snow conditions, after ranking eighth in his first run, Žan's performance during the second run was fantastic and brought him a silver medal. He became the third Slovenian Alpine skier to win an Olympic medal after Jure Košir in Lillehammer in 1994 and Jure Frank in Sarajevo in 1984, and the second to win a silver medal in the Olympic giant slalom.

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slovenski olimpijci_moska_ekipa
Photo: Aleš Fevžer OKS

Slovenian ski jumpers master the large hill

The Olympian gods smiled upon the Slovenian ski jumping team again in the men’s large hill team event. In difficult windy conditions, Slovenian ski jumpers Lovro Kos, Cene Prevc, Timi Zajc and Peter Prevc were in the top positions throughout the competition and even led for a while, winning the Olympic silver medal in the end. This is the third Olympic team medal for the Slovenian men’s ski jumping team following the silver medal in Calgary in 1988 and the bronze in Salt Lake City in 2002.

 

slovenski olimpijci_nika kriznar
Photo: Aleš Fevžer OKS

Nika Križnar – in the company of her friend on the Olympic winners’ podium

On 5 February 2022 in Beijing, a new chapter was written in Slovenian sporting history. For the first time, two Slovenian flags flew at the same time at the medal ceremony. Bogataj’s gold in the women’s individual ski jumping event was completed by a bronze medal won by Nika Križnar. The ski jumper form Delnice near Škofja Loka had already won the crystal globe for the overall World Cup victory in the pre-Olympic season, and the individual and team Olympic medals were the icing on the cake for her.

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slovenski olimpijci_glorija kotnik
Photo: Aleš Fevžer OKS

Gloria Kotnik – through the back door to tears of happiness

Our snowboarder from Velenje wrote one of the most beautiful stories in Beijing. In her long sports career, she has had many ups and downs as well as injuries and was about to quit snowboarding. But last year she gave birth to her son Maj and motherhood seems to have given her new impetus. At the beginning of the season, she was not yet sure whether she should continue her career, but she ended up getting on a plane to Beijing at a special invitation and competed unburdened by any pressure in the Olympic parallel giant slalom. She dominated her competitors until the semi-finals and in the end she was left to fight for the third place. She seized the opportunity and was overwhelmed with joy to win her bronze medal.

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Slovenia’s rankings among the top 10

In addition to the medals we have won, we can also pride ourselves with our placings among the top 10. Some competitors missed the winners’ podium by a hair’s breadth.

 

 

Photo credit: Aleš Fevžer OKS and Slovenian Press Agency

The formula for Slovenian sporting success

Slovenian athletes both female and male often raise questions with their numerous top successes about what is so special in Slovenia that makes it such a strong sports country. There are various reasons for this and here are only a few of them.

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