By: J.S., STA
Slovenian ski jumpers Urša Bogataj and Nika Križnar made history at the Winter Olympics in Zhangjiakou on Saturday, as Bogataj has won the gold and Križnar won the bronze medal. It is the first time that more than one Slovenian athlete has made the Olympic podium in the same event.
The other ski jumpers representing Slovenia were Ema Klinec, who finished fifth, and Špela Rogelj, who ended the final series in ninth place, which means all Slovenian ski jumpers finished the competition inside the top ten.
After finishing the first series as the leader, Germany’s Katharina Althaus (236.8 points) won the silver medal, ranking between Križnar (232 points) and Bogataj (239 points), who set the new hill record with 108 metres in the first round.
“I haven’t realised it yet, I don’t know how this is possible. I am very happy,” said 26-year-old Urša Bogataj in her first statement after winning the gold.
When asked what has changed since Friday, she said it was perhaps the first jump today. “I broke the hill record and I really enjoyed it, so I said to myself, I will just do it, and I don’t care what happens,” said the new Olympic champion.
Meanwhile, current world champion Ema Klinec (215.4) was fourth after the first series, but switched places with Japan’s Sara Takanashi (224.1) in the end to finish fifth.
Špela Rogelj (184.2) was eighth after the first series, and although she did not manage to improve on her result in the final, she did not lose much, finishing ninth in the end.
Slovenia’s ski jumping team, led by head coach Zoran Zupančič, has been excellent in all training sessions and also in today’s trial series, when Križnar was first, Bogataj second and Klinec fourth.
“I just enjoyed today. I knew I had to smile and be happy, whatever happens. I sang a song to myself all day, and then I heard Urša singing it too. I’m so happy and I can’t wait to go home and hug my loved ones,” Nika Križnar said after the final.
“I am so happy for Urša, and I am really glad that she has done it. When you are standing next to your best friend like this, on an Olympic podium, it is even more special. We’re going to have a hard time falling asleep tonight,” she added.
“We both cried with happiness because we are good friends and roommates, we always have a good time together. I don’t know how it is possible that we did it, but we just did,” said Olympic champion Urša Bogataj.
“I liked this hill ever since the first jump I made here. I hope it can continue like this, because the team event will be very important as well, and I hope we can win some medals there too,” she added.
The medals won by Bogataj and Križnar are the first ones for Slovenia at this year’s Winter Olympics, and Bogataj became the first Slovenian after Tina Maze to win a gold medal at the Winter Olympics. Slovenia now also has 13 bronze medals thanks to Križnar, and the total number of medals in ski jumping has risen to five.
This was the only individual competition for female ski jumpers at this year’s Winter Olympics, with the mixed team event to follow on Monday.