OLYMPICS: Slovenia Still Chasing Gold at Winter Olympics

Ljubljana, 6 February - Slovenia is still chasing a gold medal at the Winter Olympics, and the upcoming games in Russia's Sochi will be a new opportunity after the nation saw its best success so far at the previous games in Vancouver in 2010 with two silvers and one bronze. Slovenian athletes have won a total of eleven Winter Olympic medals so far.

The Vancouver Games were the most successful for Slovenia, with the country's best skier Tina Maze winning silvers in giant slalom and super giant slalom and cross-country skiing legend Petra Majdič winning bronze in sprint.

Slovenia was third in Vancouver in terms of medals per capita, trailing only winter sports superpowers Norway and Austria.

The first Slovenian athlete to win a medal at the Winter Olympics was skier Jure Franko, who won silver in giant slalom in Sarajevo in 1984, when he represented the former Yugoslavia.

Slovenian ski jumpers Primož Ulaga, Matjaž Zupan, Matjaž Debelak and Miran Tepeš won silver for Yugoslavia in team large hill in Calgary in 1988, while Debelak also won bronze in individual large hill.

Mateja Svet became the first Slovenian female athlete to win a medal at the Winter Olympics, grabbing silver in giant slalom in Calgary.

The first medals for Slovenia as an independent nation at the Winter Olympics came in Norway's Lillehammer in 1994, with Alenka Dovžan winning bronze in women's Alpine skiing combined, and Katja Koren and Jure Košir winning bronze in women's and men's slalom, respectively.

Slovenian athletes failed to win a single medal at the 1998 games in Japan's Nagano, with the next medal coming at the next Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City in 2002. The men's ski jumping team won bronze in large hill.

The 2006 Winter Games in Italy's Turin were a disappointment for Slovenia, which managed only three six-place finishes.

Slovenia is projected to win as many as six medals in Sochi, including three golds, according to an analysis by the Swiss sports agency Infostrada. All three golds are expected to be won by Tina Maze, the reigning female Alpine Ski World Cup champion.

© STA, 2014