The Slovenia Times

We need another Bojan



Bojan was born on January 3rd, 1957 in Kranj. He was a member of a well-known skiing family from Trzic and started skiing when he was just 3-years old. He soon showed that he had huge talent and that he had a big future ahead of him. First podium finish He was the 13th at the World Championships in St. Moritz in 1974. One year later he became the European Junior Champion in Mayerhofen. In the 1976/77 season, he received his first World Cup points when he qualified among the top 15 competitors in the slalom event in Val d'Isere, France. Later that season he stepped onto the podium for the first time in Madonna di Campiglio, Italy after finishing third in the slalom. Unforgettable victory On January 20th, 1980 in Wengen, Switzerland, he finally broke through for his first World Cup victory, which was also a first for Slovenia and Yugoslavia. That season saw Krizaj finish second in the overall standings in the slalom discipline. Over the next 7 years he won another 7 World Cup slaloms and stood atop of the podium in Wengen, Markstein, Madonna di Campiglio, Bromont, Kitzb�hel and Kranjska Gora. His two victories at 'home' (Kranjska Gora) on March 20th, 1982 and December 20th, 1986 are regarded as the greatest moments in the history of Slovenian skiing. More than 30,000 spectators celebrated the great victory and the overall slalom title that went to Bojan's teammate, Rok Petrovic. Krizaj ended his career with a tally of 33 'top 3' finishes - 8 wins, 12 seconds and 13 third places. His most successful World Cup season was in 1986/87 when he received the treasured crystal globe for the season's best slalom skier. That overall slalom victory was something special. It's always very nice to know that you're the best in the world in one discipline. I'll never forget the first victory in Wengen and both home triumphs in Kranjska Gora,'' said Bojan about his greatest moments. Unfortunately for Bojan he was competing during the reign of the legendary Ingemar Stenmark, a great friend of Krizaj, who ironically used Slovenian skis (Elan). The Swedish superstar was unbeatable and won 86 races. Had Bojan skied during a different era he would certainly have won more World Cup competitions. Besides his victories, he was also second in the overall World Cup slalom standings in the 1979/80 and 1985/86 seasons and third in the 1980/81 season. His best position in the overall World Cup standings, which covers the 4 alpine disciplines, was 4th place in 1979/80. An injury brought an end to his rich career in 1988 and in his final race in Saalbach, Austria, he stepped off his skis at the end of the course and walked into the finish area. Bad luck Sadly, he wasn't as successful at the Olympic games or at the World Championships. At the 1980 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid, USA, he was fourth in the giant slalom, missing out on the bronze medal by only two one-hundredths of a second. Four years later, he took the athlete's oath at the opening ceremony of the 1984 Winter Olympic games in Sarajevo. Despite the huge expectations and support of the crowds, he could only manage a disappointing 9th place in the giant slalom. The local hero of the games was Jure Franko, who won a silver medal, the first Slovenian and Yugoslav winter Olympic medal. Bojan was due to compete at the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary, Canada, however, an injury a few days before the event forced his withdrawal. His only successful World Championship was in 1982 in Schladming, Austria where he won the silver medal in the slalom event. He was in great form, but Ingemar Stenmark was once again quicker. I could've achieved much more, if I had worked more professionally. During my career, I was never fully focused on skiing. I was going to school and started my own family when I was very young, there were just too many things happening at the same time, said Krizaj, when he considered his results. Alpine skiing has undergone some enormous changes in the past decade: The equipment has improved dramatically over the last few years, many things are different to when I retired. The World Cup is much more commercialized now. The top stars earn enormous amounts of money, two decades ago we weren't skiing for money. The businessman Bojan still keeps in contact with his old friends. The organizers of the traditional World Cup events in Kitzb�hel, Wengen and Schladming always include a 'legends' race. He still follows the World Cup competitions and loves to analyse all the technical mistakes, but has never wanted to be a part of the Slovenian national coaching set-up. Since ending his skiing career, he has become a very successful businessman and is very active in Japan and Hong Kong, where he has many friends. He is the father of three sons and now wants to spend a lot more time at home with his family, something he wasn't able to do much of in the past. Slovenian alpine skiing is having a hard time of it at the moment, but Krizaj remains optimistic about its future.


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