Sport in Slovenia

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The most popular team sports in Slovenia are basketball, ice hockey, association football, handball and skiing. Individual sports such as athletics, cycling, and tennis are popular. Slovenia has competed in eleven summer and winter Olympic Games. It is also famous for its athletes, such as ultramarathon swimmer Martin Strel and Davo Karničar, the only person to ski down Mount Everest.

Team sports[edit]

Association football[edit]

The highest level in Slovenian football is the Slovenian PrvaLiga (1. SNL),[1] with 10 teams. The Slovenia national football team have qualified for two FIFA World Cups (2002 and 2010) and one UEFA European Football Championship (2000). The Slovenian team qualified for the 2010 FIFA World Cup by upsetting heavily favored Russia in the qualifying tournament. The team played in the Group C with England, Algeria, and the United States. Slovene football stars include Samir Handanovič, Robert Koren, Milivoje Novakovič, Josip Iličić, Tim Matavž and Valter Birsa. Past stars include Brane Oblak, Danilo Popivoda, Srečko Katanec, Džoni Novak and Zlatko Zahovič.

Basketball[edit]

The highest level of Slovene Basketball is the Premier A Slovenian Basketball League,[2] with 12 teams. The Slovenian national basketball team has qualified for eleven Eurobaskets, including a fourth place finish in 2009, and three FIBA World Championships in 2006, 2010 and 2014. Famous Slovene basketball players include Goran Dragić, Sasha Vujačić, Radoslav Nesterović, Beno Udrih, Matjaž Smodiš, Marko Milič, Ivo Daneu, Peter Vilfan, Vinko Jelovac, Aljoša Žorga, Primož Brezec, Sani Bečirović and Jaka Lakovič.

Ice hockey[edit]

The Slovenian Ice Hockey Championship[3] is the highest level ice hockey league in the country. The Slovenia men's national ice hockey team has qualified for five Ice Hockey World Championships. One of Slovenia's most famous athletes is Anže Kopitar, who plays in the United States for the Los Angeles Kings of the National Hockey League. His 34.7 million (USD $47.6 million), seven-year contract is the largest contract held by any Slovene athlete. He became first Slovenian to win the Stanley Cup in 2012 with the Los Angeles Kings, while being tied for the top scorer of the playoffs. Other famous Slovene hockey players include Robert Kristan, Jan Muršak, David Rodman and Marcel Rodman, Rok Tičar, Žiga Pance, Žiga Jeglič, Tomaž Vnuk, Dejan Kontrec and Bojan Zajc.

Handball[edit]

Handball is a very popular sport in Slovenia. Slovenia has played at six handball world championships and was ranked fourth at the 2013 championships in Spain. Slovenia has played nine times at the European handball championships. The team was the runner-up at the 2004 championship held in Slovenia.

Slovenian club RK Celje won the Champions League in 2004, beating Flensburg in the final. They also played six times in a row in the Champions League semi-finals. Other famous Slovenian teams are RD Slovan (1980 Champions Cup finalists), RK Gorenje and RK Koper.

Rugby union[edit]

Rugby union is a growing sport in Slovenia, and they are currently ranked 43rd by the IRB.[4] The governing body is Rugby Zveza Slovenije (Rugby Union of Slovenia). Slovenia borders Italy, which is a major rugby playing nation. In recent years, however, there have been serious attempts by Australian Football to expand into the Balkans, using substantial financial incentives, and expats from Australia. There are many active clubs with the main ones being RAK Olimpija, RFC Bezigrad and RK Ljubljana.

Mediterranean Games[edit]

Slovenia has competed in the Mediterranean games since 1993. It is ranked twelfth in the all-time rankings. As of 2011, Slovenia's Mediterranean games medal count is 101 including 27 gold, 28 silver and 46 bronze medals.

Canoeing[edit]

Slovenia has won numerous titles in canoeing. The most successful canoeists are:

  • Jernej Abramič
  • Janez Andrijašič
  • Luka Božič
  • Albin Čižman
  • Peter Guzelj
  • Simon Hočevar
  • Tone Hočevar
  • Borut Javornik
  • Peter Kauzer
  • Uroš Kodelja
  • Jurij Korenjak
  • Urša Krajelj
  • Sebastjan Linke
  • Josip Lipokatič
  • Nada Mali
  • Fedja Marušič
  • Jure Meglič
  • Nina Mozetič
  • Andrej Nolimal
  • Marian Olejnik
  • Spela Ponomarenko
  • Damjan Prelovšek
  • Janež Skok
  • Dejan Stevanovič
  • Miha Štricelj
  • Marjan Štrukelj
  • Sašo Taljat
  • Eva Terčelj
  • Gregor Terdič
  • Miha Terdič
  • Dušan Tuma
  • Andraž Vehovar
  • Jože Vidmar
  • Boštjan Žitnik
  • Franc Žitnik
  • Jernej Župančič Regent

Mountain climbing[edit]

Slovenia is also a major force in alpinism. Some of the greatest legends of alpinism are Slovenian, including Tomaž Humar, Tomo Česen, and Julius Kugy. Other notable Slovenian alpinists are Jakob Aljaž, Klement Jug, Davo Karničar, Nejc Zaplotnik, Miha Valič, Aljaž Anderle, Viki Grošelj, Pavle Kozje, and Igor Škamperle.

Rowing[edit]

Since the former Yugoslavia split up, Slovenian rowers have enjoyed excellent results in international competition. The most famous rower in Slovenia is Iztok Čop. Other important rowers are Milan Janša, Jani Klemenčič, Rok Kolander, Sašo Mirjanič, Sadik Mujkić, Miha in Matjaž Pirih, Denis Žvegelj, Matej Prelog, and Luka Špik.

Olympics[edit]

Slovenia has achieved disproportionate Olympic success relative to its size, with fifteen medals at five Summer Olympics and seven medals at six Winter Olympics.

At the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, Slovenia's three medals, at roughly one medal for every 681,000 Slovenes, was the third best per capita medal ratio behind only Norway and Austria.[5]

Individual sports[edit]

Alpine skiing[edit]

Olympic medalists:

others:

Athletics[edit]

Biathlon[edit]

Cross-country[edit]

Cycling[edit]

Fencing[edit]

The most famous Slovenian fencer is Rudolf Cvetko, who won Olympic silver medals in 1912 for Austria. He was the first Slovenian to won an Olympic medal and the most important promoter of fencing in Yugoslavnian Slovenia.

Gymnastics[edit]

Judo[edit]

Motorsport[edit]

The only woman to have circumnavigated the world on a motorbike is Slovenian Benka Pulko. On June 19, 1997, Benka Pulko departed from her hometown of Ptuj, Slovenia on a BMW F650 motorcycle. She returned to Ptuj on December 10, 2002, having established the Guinness World Records[2][3] for the longest solo motorcycle ride ever undertaken by a woman - in both distance, 180,015 km, and duration, 2,000 days. In the process she also became the first motorcyclist to reach Antarctica, and the first woman to ride solo across Saudi Arabia.

Sailing[edit]

Slovenia has a short shoreline but has very successful sailors, including Olympic medalist Vasilij Žbogar, Dejan Vinčec, and others.

Shooting[edit]

Rajmond Debevec won Olympic gold and bronze, as well as numerous other achievements. He is the best Slovenian shooter in history. He participated in seven Olympic games in a row for Yugoslavia and also holds the world record in 3-p, Munich WCF 1992, 1186 p.

Ski Jumping[edit]

Snowboarding[edit]

Swimming[edit]

Tennis[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "PrvaLiga" (in Slovene). Slovenian PrvaLiga official website. Retrieved 23 September 2013. 
  2. ^ "Košarkarska zveza Slovenije" (in Slovene). Basketball Federation of Slovenia official website. Retrieved 12 February 2010. 
  3. ^ "Hokejska zveza Slovenije" (in Slovene). Hockey Federation of Slovenia official website. Retrieved 12 February 2010. 
  4. ^ "Rugby Zveza Slovenije". Retrieved 19 September 2013. 
  5. ^ "VANCOUVER 2010".