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Slovenia's sporting successes are no coincidence

At a panel discussion organised by the Government Communication Office in the media centre at the Nordic World Ski Championships in Planica, successful athletes Petra Majdič, Andrej Hauptman and para athlete Jernej Slivnik reflected on whether Slovenia's sporting successes are a coincidence.

Petra Majdič, once one of the world's best cross-country skiers, Andrej Hauptman, a former cyclist and later a successful coach and team manager, and Jernej Slivnik, Slovenia's best para alpine skier, a world championships participant and Paralympian, discussed the background of Slovenian sport and the path to the great achievements of Slovenian athletes.

When asked about Slovenia's small size in the world of sport, Petra Majdič said:

»Only in the last years of my career did I feel completely equal to my competitors and shook off this feeling, but before it was always in the background that we come from a small country and we do not have enough knowledge about cross-country skiing.« 

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»We have two of the best athletes in the world. The world knows Slovenians well; it knows that we work hard and that we are good competitors,« Andrej Hauptman added. When asked why Slovenians are such successful athletes, Slivnik and Hauptman said:

»We can only expect the best from Slovenians. If we do not win in one sport, we will win in another. We can always expect success.«

All the panellists agreed that is right for top athletes to give back to society, which is also a very important aspect in Slovenia.  Hauptman highlighted the example of Tadej Pogačar and his involvement with young people. With his help, children who would not otherwise be able to afford it are now able to take part in cycling. They can join him and are thus additionally motivated to make their dreams come true. »If, as an athlete, I have become a role model for young people, I will ensure that I continue to be a role model for them until my last breath,« said Petra Majdič with determination.

Author: Vesna Žarkovič

Date: 24. February 2023

Time to read: 2 min