February 9, 2018
You don’t need to spend much time in Slovenia to realise it’s a sporting nation, and the figures back this up, with a Eurobarometer survey, quoted in Sports Participation in the European Union – Trends and differences (pdf), noting that Slovenia has the second most active population in the EU, just behind Finland and in front of Norway.
Moreover, with even the most sports-averse Slovenes (and our readers) soon to be deluged with news from PyeongChang – with that capital C added just last year to prevent people from accidentally flying to Pyongyang (srsly) – it’s time to look at the trophy cabinet and marvel at this country’s sporting prowess, especially when it comes to the winter months. You’ll thus better understand why Slovenia may go a little crazy in the next two weeks, especially with the time difference between Korea and Europe, and why you should consider booking your place on the couch or in a café for some of the events.
When looking at the overall ranking for the 2014 Sochi Olympics, Slovenia came in at 15th with regard to gold medals (with two, both won by the Alpine skier Tina Maze), and an impressive 13th for medals of any colour, the same as South Korea, Japan, the Czech Republic and Italy. Here Peter Prevc picked up a silver and bronze for ski jumping, as did Žan Košir for snowboarding, while Teja Gregorin and Vesna Fabjan each won a bronze, for biathlon and cross-country skiing, respectively.
However, and as you’ll likely hear several times over the next two weeks, where the country really shines is when you look at the data on a per capita basis. Here Slovenia was second only to Norway at Sochi in terms of total and gold medal counts, with the team winning eight medals, or one for every 257,192 Slovenes, and two golds, with one for every 1,028,770.
Moreover, since there are 71 athletes competing in PyeongChang that’s one for every 28,979 Slovenes, so bear this in mind if you happen to walk into a café or bar in the next two weeks and everyone seems rather excited. The chances are they’re at least a friend of a friend of an Olympian.