OLYMPICS: Ski Jumper Prevc Wins Silver in Normal Hill
Sochi, 9 February - Slovenia's rising ski jumping star Peter Prevc won the first Olympic medal in his career on Sunday, grabbing silver in the men's individual normal hill at the Sochi Olympics. He was second only to Kamil Stoch of Poland, while Anders Bardal of Norway won bronze.
Prevc was excellent in both rounds, managing jumps of 102.5 and 99 metres to score 265.3 points. Stoch was in a class of his own, making longest jumps both in the first and second rounds to get an unbelievable 278 points.
"I was nervous, but I channelled this into the preparations for the jump," the 21-year-old told reporters, adding that this was not only his own success, but of the entire team. "We've earned the medal with hard work".
This is Slovenia's first Olympic medal in individual ski jumping ever and the first medal for the country at the 2014 Olympics in Russia.
Asked about the medal, Prevc said: "I don't know what it means. Ask me in a month or a year. The only thing I can say about myself is that I'm making progress with each season."
Head coach Goran Janus said that the team could relax now that the first medal had been secured. "It wasn't easy. Competitors were equal, they could not afford making any mistakes. Peter certainly did not," he told the national broadcaster.
Slovenia is however still without a gold from Winter Olympics, while the first Slovenian athlete winning a Winter Olympic medal was Jure Franko, who got silver in the giant slalom event in Sarajevo in 1984, when he represented the former Yugoslavia.
First congratulations for Prevc came in literally within seconds after he secured the medal, with the president of Slovenia, the government, the sport minister as well as the opposition Democrats (SDS) and New Slovenia (NSi) hailing his success and expressing pride over the achievement on their Twitter accounts.
Jernej Damjan and Jurij Tepeš also made it to the final round today, with Damjan taking 9th place with 254.7 points, his best result ever at the Winter Olympics, and Tepeš finishing 26th with 236.7 points.
Robert Kranjec did not compete because of a nasty fall he suffered during the Saturday qualifiers. His coaches hope he will be ready to compete on the large hill on 15 February.
Earlier in the day, Slovenia's biathlete Teja Gregorin finished 15th in women's 7.5km sprint, falling 42.1 seconds behind the winner, Anastasiya Kuzmina of Slovakia. She had one penalty, which cost her a medal.
Klemen Kosi meanwhile participated in the men's downhill today, finishing 24th, 2.75 seconds behind the surprise winner, Matthias Mayer of Austria.