STA, 22 February 2020 - The Slovenian team finished second in the Ski Jumping World Cup event for women in Ljubno ob Savinji, finishing only behind Austria, as the two-day meet at Savina Ski Jumping Centre started on Saturday with some 8,000 spectators in attendance.
Nika Križnar, Špela Rogelj, Katra Komar and Ema Klinec, who led the standings after the first round, combined for a total of 1,005.1 points, while the Austrians scored 1,008.7.
The second place for Slovenia repeats the success from last year, although this time the women's team was much closer to the first place, which they had to concede to the favoured Austrians.
Led by Chiara Hölzl, who currently leads the World Cup standings, Austria overtook Slovenia to claim the first place, while Norway, headed by the Olympic champion Maren Lundby, were third (960.2).
Križnar had the best performance in the Slovenian team, and the second-best individual result overall. "I had two really excellent jumps today. I tried to do my best ... and the final jump, which was more relaxed, was really good."
Klinec, currently the best Slovenian in the World Cup, said that the home venue had provided her with an additional momentum, "making everything much simpler" and adding that it was "really an excellent competition."
Head coach Zoran Zupančič is satisfied, too. "We had aimed at a podium finish, while being aware that the Austrians are absolute favourites. The girls worked exceptionally hard, they 'exploded', which is what must happen in team events."
The two-day meet in northern Slovenia will conclude on Sunday with an individual competition, which in addition to Klinec and Križnar, two of the top ten competitors this World Cup season, will see another seven Slovenians competing.
Ljubno ob Savinji is hosting the women's World Cup for ninth year in a row, with the organisers expecting that up to 15,000 spectators will show up in the two days.
* Results of the World Cup team event in Ljubno ob Savinji:
1 Austria 1,008.7 points
(Iraschko-Stolz 85.5/90, Kramer 85/90, Pinkelnig 93/92, Hölzl 80.5/88.5)
2 Slovenia 1,005.1
(Križnar 92/94, Rogelj 89/86, Komar 83.5/82, Klinec 88.5/89)
3 Norway 960,2
(Odine Ström 86.5/89, Björseth 82.5/75, Opseth 88.5/85, Lundby 84.5/91.5)
4 Germany 916.4
5 Russia 913.4
The Slovenian basketball star Luka Dončić recovered from his ankle injury and managed to debut at the All-Star weekend in Chicago, the second youngest player to appear in an such a game, after LeBron James’ debut in 2005
Dončić first appeared in the Friday Rising Star game as the captain of Team World against Team USA, led by Trae Young. The game ended with a score 151:131 for Team USA. Since Young and Dončić were traded between Atlanta and Dallas in the 2018 draft, the two have been a subject of constant comparisons assessing which team gained more from the swap.
This is perhaps why one of the most memorable and widely shared moments from the match on social media comes from the reaction the two had on Dončić’s successful throw from mid-field in the last seconds of the first half.
Despite the fact that in 2018 neither Dončić and Young were actually the first and second picks, but rather the third and fifth, they are both doing very well and played as All-Star starters in Sunday's final match between Team LeBron and Team Giannis.
The fourth quarter of the game was very intense but unfortunately Luka didn't play in it. This year's rules, in memory of a recently diseased Kobe Bryant, stipulated that the last quarter be played when either of the teams reached the sum of the leading team's score by the end of third quarter plus 24 points, with 24 being the number on Bryant's jersey. The final result was 157:155 for Team LeBron; of these Dončić scored 8 points and contributed four passes.
Over the weekend Dončić also met President Obama and Michael Jordan. Of the latter he said: "I was too nervous. I forgot to ask for a picture."
STA, 16 February 2020 - Slovak Alpine skier Petra Vlhova won Sunday's women's World Cup race in Slovenia's Kranjska gora, also bagging the overall Golden Fox trophy following a second place in Saturday's giant slalom. The best Slovenian skier was Meta Hrovat, who finished 11th after a third place in the giant slalom.
Vlhova secured her 14th career win with an aggressive second run, attacking from fourth after the first. Sweden's Anna Swenn Larsson, who had the best first half of the race, was well on her way to beating Vlhova, but crashed just a few gates before the finish line.
Second place in Kranjska Gora, which stood in for Maribor as the traditional Golden Fox venue, went to Wendy Holdener of Swizerland (+0.24) and third to Katharina Truppe from Austria (+0.89).
Another Slovenian to finish in the points along with Hrovat (+2.67) was Ana Bucik in 22nd place (+3.54).
STA, 15 February 2020 - Slovenian skier Meta Hrovat was third at the Golden Fox FIS World Cup giant slalom event in Kranjska Gora on Saturday, sharing the result with Swiss Wendy Holdener. First place went to Alice Robinson of New Zealand, while Slovak Petra Vlhova was second.
Vlhova was 0.34 seconds slower that Robinson, whereas Hrovat's and Holdener's gap was 1.59 seconds. Federice Brignone, the overall giant slalom world cup leader, was eighth.
This was the second world cup podium for Hrovat, a Kranjska Gora native. She was third in the 2018 Lenzerheide giant slalom.
Slovenian Tina Robnik came in sixth, while Ana Bucik was 14th.
STA, 9 February 2020 - Slovenian Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates) has won this year's Tour of Valencia, having won stages two and four of the race earlier this week. This is another major success for the 21-year-old cyclist after he placed third at his first Grand Tour, La Vuelta last September, when he claimed the white jersey as the best young cyclist.
Today's 98-km stage from Paterna to Valencia was won by Dutch Fabio Jakobsen (Deceuninck - Quick Step), but Pogačar managed to keep the overall lead for his third one-week race victory of his career. A year ago he won the Tour of Algarve in Portugal and last May the Tour of California in the US.
Pogačar secured the overall victory by winning yesterday's queen stage with the finish on the mountainous Sierra de Bernia, after paving the way to the success with Thursday's win of stage two, when he defeated Spanish Alejandro Valverde, one of the most successful road racing cyclists at the moment.
"After all the effort put in during the winter to get ready for the new season, this victory means tremendously to me. This is really something exceptional." Pogačar believes to be well prepared, yet not as much as at La Vuelta last year, when he placed behind fellow Slovenian winner Primož Roglič and second-placed Valverde.
* Overall standings
1. Tadej Pogačar (SLO/UAE Team Emirates) 18:43:00
2. Jack Haig (AUS/Mitchelton-Scott) + 0:06
3. Tao Geoghegan Hart (GB/Ineos) the same time
4. Dan Martin (IRL/Israel Start-up) 0:13
5. Dylan Teuns (BEL/Bahrain - McLaren) 0:23
6. Wout Poels (NED/Bahrain - McLaren) 0:25
7. Ion Izagirre (ESP/Astana) 0:32
8. Ruben Fernandez (ESPFundacion - Orbea) 0:49
9. Oscar Rodriguez (ESP/Astana) 1:11
10. Alejandro Valverde (ESP/Movistar) 1:14
14. Jan Polanc (SLO/UAE Team Emirates) 1:36
24. Matej Mohorič (SLO/Bahrain - McLaren) 3:23
77. Luka Mezgec (SLO/Mitchelton-Scott) 17:42
Before this draft Luka expressed a wish to play as a teammate of his childhood hero LeBron, and now that wish seems to be coming true. It is not yet entirely clear whether Dončić will also actually be able to play due to his injured ankle, which he sprained about a week ago. According to some estimates, however, Dončić will be ready to play for the All-Star game a week from now and LeBron seems to be counting on Luka's recovery.
The game starts on Sunday, February 16, at 8:20 PM UTC+5. That is Monday morning at 2:20am in Slovenia.
STA, 7 February 2020 - The 56th Golden Fox competition as part of the Alpine Ski World Cup, which was supposed to take place on 15-16 February in Maribor, has been moved to the Kranjska Gora resort due to the unfavourable weather forecast.
The World Cup slalom and giant slalom events for women is moving to the north-western resort, which traditionally hosts World Cup technical events for men, nicknamed the Vitranc Cup. It will be held on the same dates.
The decision was made on Friday as a delegation of the International Ski Federation (FIS) is visiting Slovenia's second largest city to check on the snow and weather conditions on the slopes of the Pohorje hills.
Markus Mayr, the race director for women technical World Cup events, who inspected the venue one more time today, said in a press statement that the conditions did not allow the event to be organised successfully in Maribor.
The decision, made together by the FIS and the organisers, was regretted by Srečko Vilar, the secretary general of the event. He said they would do everything in their power to organise a successful event at the alternative location.
"All persons responsible were united in the opinion that we should not take risks by organising the event in Maribor, because a competition weekend for the women's World Cup cold be lost," said Mayr.
He added that "thanks to such a decision, it will be possible to organise the competition in Slovenia."
Despite great efforts by the organisers, who have been struggling to keep the piste running, the unseasonably high temperatures and strong wind made this impossible. Not even cutting-edge snow cannons were up to the task.
Mayr also said in the press release that the FIS had full confidence in the organising committee and that the federation counted on Maribor to organise women World Cup events in the future.
This will be the eight time that the Golden Fox moves to Kranjska Gora in the 56 years of the competition. It was moved there for the first time in 1976, and before today, most recently two years ago.
The NBA All-Star weekend of February 14-16 is approaching, and it is clear now that while the Slovenian player Luka Dončić will play in the February 14 Rising Star game and the All-Star game on February 16, he will not be entering the Three-Point scoring contest on February 15.
Whether Dončić was not invited or perhaps turned down the invitation is not clear as of yet. Trae Young is listed among the eight players in Saturday’s contest, and comparisons between him and Doncić will perhaps follow the two throughout their careers, due to the rookies’ having been traded between Atlanta and Dallas in 2018.
Both young players will also appear at the Rising Star game, in which Trae Young will play for the USA and Luka Dončić for the World team. Whether the two will play with or against each other in the final All-Star game on Sunday will be clear by Friday morning, after both squads are picked in the classic playground manner by James LeBron (Los Angeles Lakers) and Giannis Antetokounmpo (Milwaukee).
STA, 4 February 2020 - Cyclist Primož Roglič, the winner of the Tour of Spain, and world champion kayaker Eva Terčelj are the winners of the Bloudek Prizes for sporting achievements, the highest national awards for current and lifetime success in sports.
Having already been named Athlete of the Year by Slovenian sports journalists, Roglič, 30, was honoured by the state for the first ever victory by a Slovenian in one of the top cycling races in the world, the Vuelta, last year.
The same year he also finished third in the Giro d'Italia, another Grand Tour race, and three more major races. "Roglič proves again and again that he is a cycling champion," the jury said.
Terčelj, 28, secured the accolade among women for winning the K1 event at the Whitewater World Championship in September 2019, a career high that the jury pointed out also earned her a slot at the Tokyo Olympics this year.
Three lifetime achievement awards were also conferred as long-time Faculty of Sport professor Milan Žvan, swimming coach Vladimir Čermak and chess official Boris Kutin were honoured for decades-long careers in sports.
STA, 26 January 2020 - Slovenia's Anamarija Lampič finished second in the women's classic sprint event in the Cross-Country World Cup in Germany's Oberstdorf on Sunday for her fifth career podium finish and fourth in the current season.
In the final run, Lampič was beaten by Natalya Nepryayeva of Russia by 0.26 of a second, while the remaining competitors were left far behind.
This is the fourth podium finish for the 24-year-old in the current season, in which she already has two wins - in Switzerland Lenzerheide on 29 December last year and in Italy's Val di Fiemme on 4 January.
Lampič is currently first in the World Cup standings in sprint with 355 points, 70 points ahead of the second-placed Linn Svahn of Sweden, while she is 9th overall.
"I was going at full strength, while [Nepryayeva] had already competed yesterday, and was a bit tired today. But I think that she had a bit better skis, but never mind, I'm still happy with the second place," she said.
Nejc Brodar, the head coach of the Slovenian cross-country skiing team, said that "it was another excellent performance. Routine runs. She has shown that she deserves to wear the jersey of the leader in the overall sprint rankings."
STA, 26 January 2020 - France's Quentin Fillon Maillet is the winner of the men's 15km mass start event of the Biathlon World Cup meet at Slovenia's Pokljuka on Sunday. He finished the race ahead of Benedikt Doll of Germany and Norwegian Johannes Thingnes Boe.
Fillon Maillet missed only one shot and was very quick in the running part, as was Doll (+10.0), who also missed one shot. Boe was even quicker but missed two shots to finish 10.3 second behind the winner.
"I didn't have any particular strategy. I gave my best in the last lap in order to stay in the first place," said Fillon Maillet after the race.
This compatriot Martin Fourcade is still in the overall lead in the World Cup with 601 points, with Fillon Maillet trailing by 69 points and Boe by 119 points.
The best Slovenian competitor was Jakov Fak, who finished 21st, as he missed three shots in the process while battling cold. He crossed the finish line 1 minute and 56 seconds after Fillon Maillet.
"It was very difficult ... but it nevertheless paid to appear in front of this audience," Fak said, adding that the "current situation and form are not such that I could be a match to the competitors at the top."
* Results of the men's 15km mass start:
1 Quentin Fillon Maillet (FRA) 36:21.5 (1)
2 Benedikt Doll (GER) +10.0 (1)
3 Johannes Thingnes Boe (NOR) 10.3 (2)
4 Vetle Sjaastad Christiansen (NOR) 10.6 (1)
5 Martin Fourcade (FRA) 10.8 (1)
6 Erlend Bjoentegaard (NOR) 21.4 (2)
7 Johannes Dale (NOR) 39.8 (2)
8 Simon Eder (AUT) 42.8 (0)
9 Tarjei Boe (NOR) 43.5 (2)
10 Lukas Hofer (ITA) 1:05.4 (2)
21 Jakov Fak (SLO) 1:56.1 (3)
- Overall standings (13 out of 24 events):
1 Martin Fourcade (FRA) 601 pts
2 Quentin Fillon Maillet (FRA) 532
3 Johannes Thingnes Boe (NOR) 482
4 Simon Desthieux (FRA) 479
5 Tarjei Boe (NOR) 461
6 Alexander Loginov (RUS) 436
7 Benedikt Doll (GER) 415
8 Emilien Jacquelin (FRA) 401
9 Johannes Dale (NOR) 398
10 Vetle Sjaastad Christiansen (NOR) 372
15 Jakov Fak (SLO) 286
Women's mass start at Pokljuka won by Sweden's Oeberg
STA, 26 January 2020 - Hanna Oeberg of Sweden won the women's 12.5km mass start event at Slovenia's Pokljuka on Sunday, finishing ahead of Italian Lisa Vittozzi and France's Anais Bescond in what was the last Biathlon World Cup meet ahead of the world championships in Italy.
Oeberg missed one shot but was better in the running part than Vittozzi (+6.5) and Bescond (27.6), who were perfect in shooting.
This is the fourth individual career victory for the 24-year-old Swede, who won the world champion title in the individual race in Östersund in 2019.
* Results of the women's 12.5km mass start:
1 Hanna Oeberg (SWE) 34:14.4 (1)
2 Lisa Vittozzi (ITA) +6.5 (0)
3 Anais Bescond (FRA) 27.6 (0)
4 Monika Hojnisz-Starega (POL) 37.5 (1)
5 Justine Braisaz (FRA) 44.1 (3)
6 Marte Olsbu Roeiseland (NOR) 48.4 (3)
7 Lisa Theresa Hauser (AUT) 59.9 (1)
8 Ingrid Landmark Tandrevold (NOR) 1:09.0 (3)
9 Dorothea Wierer (ITA) 1:09.6 (2)
10 Marketa Davidova (CZE) 1:22.5 (2)
- Overall standings (13 out of 24 events):
1 Tiril Eckhoff (NOR) 524 pts
2 Dorothea Wierer (ITA) 509
3 Hanna Oeberg (SWE) 456
4 Denise Herrmann (GER) 419
5 Julia Simon (FRA) 385
6 Ingrid Landmark Tandrevold (NOR) 384
7 Marte Olsbu Roeiseland (NOR) 381
8 Justine Braisaz (FRA) 380
9 Paulina Fialkova (SVK) 353
10 Lisa Vittozzi (ITA) 325