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"Welcome home, welcome to Planica"

"Welcome home, welcome to Planica” – the slogan of the 43rd FIS Nordic World Ski Championship 2023, which is being held at Planica, perfectly captured the desire of the opening ceremony’s orchestrator, Miha Krušič, namely to present the best that Slovenia has to offer to the World Championship participants, visitors and spectators. The entire event was marked by the tenderness, vigour and humanity that symbolise the unity of the Slovenian people, particularly at sports venues.

The championship was opened at a grand event on the eve of the competition’s first day by speeches from Johan Eliasch, President of the International Ski and Snowboard Federation, Robert Golob, Prime Minister of the Republic of Slovenia, and Enzo Smrekar, President of the Ski Association of Slovenia and of the Planica Organising Committee.

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The Prime Minister of the Republic of Slovenia, Robert Golob, welcomed the athletes at the opening ceremony of the Nordic World Ski Championship with the words: "Welcome to Slovenia. This is the biggest sporting event in Slovenia’s history. Let the world remember Planica for its fantastic atmosphere. Planica is our pride. It is with good reason that our country is referred to as the green heart of Europe."

Johan Eliasch, President of the International Ski and Snowboard Federation, answered a few questions about the Championships and the activities of the federation he leads.

The performers included Laibach, Sašo Avsenik’s Band, and DJ Umek

The cultural programme featured the bands Laibach, Sašo Avsenik’s popular folk music band, and DJ Umek, an electronic music producer. They were accompanied on stage by more than 130 other performers.

Laibach, a popular and established band, created for the opening ceremony a song based on the old Slovenian folk tune 'Oj, Triglav, moj dom’ (Oh, Triglav, My Home). The fresh arrangement was joined by a host of well-known musicians: singer Severa Gjurin, frontman and singer of Siddharta band, Tomi Meglič, zither player Irena Anžič, percussionist Petra Vidmar, members of the Slovenian Philharmonic Choir, and the wind and brass section of the Radio-Television Slovenia Symphony Orchestra.

Sašo Avsenik, grandson of the late popular folk musician Slavko Avsenik, had the following to say about his band’s performance: "We presented a fragment of our culture and showed how beautiful it is when different generations meet on stage.” His band played and sang ‘Iz Bohinja’, ‘Slovenija od kod lepote tovoje’ , ‘Na Golici’, and, finally, ‘Planica, Planica’. "Before embarking on his musical career, my grandfather Slavko was a member of the national ski jumping team. After a bad fall, he swapped his skis for an accordion. Later on, he dedicated the aforementioned song to ski jumping and to Planica. This song evokes feelings and memories in every visitor to Planica”, said Sašo Avsenik, explaining the circumstances that led to the song’s creation.

Listening to the beats compiled by DJ Umek, a well-known dance music producer and DJ, the visitors of the event greeted the national flag bearers of all participating national teams from 66 countries.

Author: Jani Drnovšek

Date: 22. February 2023

Time to read: 2 min