OLYMPICS: Košir Takes Bronze in Snowboard Parallel Giant Slalom
Sochi, 19 February - Slovenia's Žan Košir won bronze in Wednesday's snowboard parallel giant slalom at the Sochi Winter Olympics, securing Slovenia's first ever Olympic snowboard medal. Gold went to Russian Vic Wild and silver to Nevin Galmarini from Switzerland.
The medal for Košir, who had to concede to Galmarini in the semi-finals, came as no surprise, as the 29-year-old posted three second-place finishes in the World Cup in the run up to the Olympics.
"I haven't had a chance to savour the medal yet. I feel like it was a World Cup meet. I'll have to wait until the medal is hanging around my neck to realise that all my hard work has paid off," said Košir.
He added that he was glad that he could prove wrong critics, who have said that he is not a competitor for big games. "I had a bit of luck today, but if I missed out on a medal at the World Championships by a few seconds, I was repaid today."
Things were looking even better for the Slovenian team before the quarter-finals, which featured three Slovenian snowboarders, but Rok Marguč and Rok Flander had to settle for fifth and sixth place respectively.
Interestingly, Košir started the day as the worst of the Slovenian qualifiers, taking eighth to progress to the knockout stages.
His first concern was an icy piste which gradually softened during the day, making the selection of the right board a difficult task.
"Psychologically I did not have problems, but it was a different story physically, as strength was extremely important," he commented on tackling the Rosa Khutor piste.
While admitting that he was running out of strength in the end, he said he compensated with experience and tactics. "I didn't want to fire all my barrels immediately, but was looking to gradually increase my performance."
The Slovenians will be looking for their chances again in Saturday's parallel slalom, including Košir and the reigning parallel slalom world champion Marguč.
Today's medal was already a record seventh for Slovenia at the Sochi Olympics.
The latest medal winner for Slovenia has again attracted a chorus of congratulations from Slovenian politicians, including President Borut Pahor, who was in Sochi today.
"Yet another day made of dreams," President Borut Pahor commented on Košir's achievement. "Today you are our hero," he wrote.
Joining the president in sending congratulations to Košir were the government, Speaker Janko Veber, a host of cabinet ministers and politicians from both sides of the aisle.