Gymnastics great Cerar picked to head Slovenian Olympic team
Ljubljana, 10 September - The Slovenian Olympic Committee (OKS) has picked the former gymnastics great Miroslav Cerar as the head of the Slovenian team for the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, which Cerar himself sees as a "great honour and responsibility".
Announcing the decision, the OKS said on Tuesday it was an expression of recognition to the former Olympic, world and European champion in artistic gymnastics.
"I consider it a great honour to lead the best Slovenian athletes to the Olympic games in the Japanese capital, of which I have fond memories," Cerar said on the occasion, referring to his gold medal on the pommel horse in the 1964 Olympics.
In addition to this medal, Cerar also won gold medal in the same discipline at the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City and bronze medal on the horizontal bar four years earlier. He also won four golds at world championships and nine golds at European championships.
"The task entrusted to me by the Slovenian Olympic Committee makes me feel great responsibility and I believe that I will, with the help from the expert staff of the Slovenian team, be up to the task," he added.
Cerar, who will turn 80 this year, is one of the greatest Slovenian and Yugoslav gymnasts of all time along Leon Štukelj (1898-1999). He was inducted into the International Gymnastics Hall of Fame in Oklahoma City in 1999.
Among other awards and accolades, he received the Silver Olympic Order, the highest award of the International Olympic Committee, in 1984, and the Golden Order of Merit of the Republic of Slovenia for his contribution to sport in 2009.
Cerar has also been active in sport organisations, including the Slovenian Olympic Committee, Slovenian Olympic Academy and the European Fair Play Movement. He is also Slovenia's ambassador for sport, tolerance and fair play in the Council of Europe.
During the 2020 Summer Olympics, which will take place between 24 July and 9 August, Cerar will also be the ambassador of the Slovenian House in Tokyo, which will serve as a meeting point for athletes, journalists and fans.