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Sport

 

Slovenia's key goal after independence has been to develop modern organisational and legislative conditions for the development of sport. Thus, in 1994 the Slovenian Olympic Committee, established on 15 October 1991, merged with the Slovenian Sports Association, which had existed since 1945.

 

Today, Slovenian competitors participate in the most important European and world sporting championships. The most successful sports are Alpine and Nordic skiing, wild-water kayaking and canoeing, sculling, cycling and skydiving.

 

In the territory of today's Slovenia, activities that could be regarded as early forms of sport were already being pursued in the Middle Ages. In 1689, the Slovene polymath Janez Vajkard Valvasor  wrote about boating, speleology, fishing, hunting, mountaineering and shooting. His description of autochthonous skiing at Bloke  deserves special mention, since it is the oldest record of its kind in the Central Europe.

 

The first great achievements of Slovenian sportsmen and sportswomen in the history of world sports were mainly in gymnastics. Particularly famous was Leon Štukelj  (1898-1999), who, between 1922 and 1936, won eight gold, four silver and five bronze medals in three Olympic Games and three World Championships. The unforgettable Leon Štukelj died in 1999 shortly before he could celebrate his 101st birthday. In 1996, he was invited to the Olympic Games in Atlanta as a guest of honour, where he was enthusiastically welcomed by thousands of spectators, including then US President Clinton, who again met Štukelj during his visit to Slovenia in June 1999. After the Second World War, the reputation of Slovenian gymnastics was carried forward by Miro Cerar, who won two gold and one bronze medal at the Olympic Games in Tokyo and Mexico.

 

The gymnasts Aljaž Pegan and Mitja Petkovšek have ranked among the world’s top gymnasts throughout the past decade.

 

The dreams of many Slovenes became reality when the Slovene national football team  qualified for the first time for the European Championship in 2000 and for the 2002 Football World Cup. Slovenian footballers qualified for the 2010 World Cup and ranked in 18th place in South Africa.

 

Slovene sportsmen are also achieving excellent results in other team sports: basketball, volleyball and handball.

 

PlanicaOver the last twenty years it is the skiers who have achieved the best results and stood on the winners’ podiums at major world competitions (recently Petra Majdič and Tina Maze). Slovene ski jumpers are also successful. The annual final competition of the ski-jumping World Cup each year takes place at Planica , at the largest natural ski-jump in the world.

 

Since 1992, Slovenes have also been extremely successful in rowing. In addition to earning numerous top titles, Iztok Čop  and Luka Špik won a gold medal in men's double sculls at the 2000 Sydney Olympics and a silver medal at the 2004 Athens Olympics. In 2005, at the World Rowing Championships in the Japan's Gifu, they won gold medals in the men’s double sculls and silver medals in the men’s quadruple sculls. Following these brilliant successes, Čop and Špik were designated 2005 FISA Rowing Male Crew of the Year.

 

Slovenian athletes are also very successful. Jolanda Čeplak, the world indoor record holder in the women’s 800 metres, won a bronze medal at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens in the 800-metre run.

 

Sara Isaković won the first Olympic medal ever for Slovenia in swimming at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing.

 

Slovenia also boasts important international achievements in dancesport, ninepins, boules, skydiving, paragliding, gliding, etc.

 

Alpinists occupy a special place in Slovene sport. Mountaineering and alpinism have a very long tradition in Slovenia. In mid-November 1999, Tomaž Humar  (1969-2009) completed a solo ascent of the south face of Daulaghiri, described as a challenge for the third millennium. And on 7 October 2000, Davo Karničar became the first person to ski non-stop down from the 8,848- metre summit of Mount Everest, the world's highest mountain.

 

Martin Strel's  name appeared in the Guinness Book of Records for several times. He is the absolute world record holder in uninterrupted swimming.

 

Slovenia has also won recognition in the world of sport as the host of important international competitions. In addition to Planica , where five ski-jump world cups have been held to date, Ljubljana (the capital) and Bled have so far proved themselves the best organisers. Maribor, Planica, Kranjska Gora, Pokljuka and Bohinj are traditional organisers of skiing and biathlon world cup races as well.


 


Related Ministry

  • Ministry of Education, Science, Culture and Sport

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