Winter Olympics: Team Slovenia Happy, Despite Failed Doping Test (Feature, Video)

By , 26 Feb 2018, 09:05 AM Sport
The closing ceremony The closing ceremony Screenshot from the YouTube video

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A wrap-up and review of the action in Korea. 

STA, February 25, 2018 – When the Winter Olympics in PyeongChang came to an end with the closing ceremony on Sunday, all but one of Slovenia's 71 athletes were already home or on their way. Although the medal tally is not as high as it was in Vancouver (2010) or Sochi (2014), Team Slovenia is with the games, despite the fact that a hockey player failed a doping test.

National Olympic Committee President Bogdan Gabrovec said that there was no way Slovenia could have pulled off another Sochi, when the team won eight medals, a Slovenian Olympic record.

Gabrovec, as well as retired cross-country skier and Olympic medallist Petra Majdič, believe that high rankings by young athletes at the games were reason for optimism.

Majdič praised the cross-country team, as having made a great step forward. "Anamarija was phenomenal," she said, referring to Lampič, who placed sixth in team sprint event alongside Alenka Čebašek.

Team Slovenia head Franci Petek, a former ski jumper and the first athlete to bear the flag of an independent Slovenia at the Olympics in 1992, said that the medals earned by biathlete Jakov Fak (silver in 15-km mass start) and snowboarder Žan Košir (bronze in parallel giant slalom) were "gigantic".

He also believes that the results of the younger athletes will serve as inspiration for the future. Petek, who has been a part of the Olympic team several times, labelled the games as pleasant and successful, praising the organisers despite not having a lot of experience with winter sports.

Fak, who placed highest, said that the silver medal was a great personal victory for him, having had to give up much of the previous season due to illness.

Fak, who started competing for Slovenia a few years ago after giving up his Croatian passport, was also set to become the flag bearer at the Olympics opening ceremony, but withdrew from the online vote following nationalist comments.

This left a mark. "I faced a lot of problems at the beginning of the Olympics, but then I got myself together. I'm the most bothered by the fact that I wasn't able to regenerate after winning the medal to compete in the next race," he said, referring to the mixed relay.

Košir said after winning bronze yesterday that the award ceremony made him aware that he achieved a great thing. Instead of celebratory cakes, Košir and Fak both got traditional Potica roll cakes at House Slovenia after climbing the podium.

Slovenia has not had its own house at the Olympics for a while and the team of eight, who headed the house, was very happy to welcome about 3,500 visitors and guests this year.

Among others, they hosted former UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, former FIA boss Jean Todt and Prince Albert II of Monaco.

But despite the brave faces, the Olympics in PyeonChang were not a complete success for Team Slovenia. A failed doping test by hockey player Žiga Jeglič has left a large black mark.

His defence that he forgot to list an asthma medication as a medical exception prompted debates about doping in Slovenia, while many officials seemed incredulous that he forgot to list the exception.

The hockey team was sent home by Norway the day they learnt of the failed doping test and have already returned to Slovenia. Fak is expected at the Brnik airport late in the evening today and Košir will land tomorrow morning.

The only athlete, who remained in PyeongChang for the closing ceremony was freestyle skier Filip Flisar, who headed directly to a World Cup competition in Russia after the ceremony, where the country was represented by non-athlete members of Team Slovenia.

According to data from the Slovenian Olympic Committee, about 300 fans from Slovenia cheered for Team Slovenia in PyeongChang.

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