The Slovenia Times

Winter athletes take home Bloudek Prizes

Brdo pri Kranju
The 2022 Bloudek Prize winners.
Photo: Bor Slana/STA

The men's 2022 Olympic ski jumping team, skier Žan Kranjec and snowboarders Tim Mastnak and Gloria Kotnik took the 58th Bloudek Prizes as the top national accolades for sporting achievements were presented on 11 February. They all won medals at the Beijing Winter Olympics.

Timi Zajc, Lovro Kos and the brothers Peter and Cene Prevc, who won the silver medal in Beijing in the team event, "made an exceptional feat, and above all, our eagles again mustered excellent jumps and excellent team spirit," the award jury said.

Kranjec took the accolade for winning the Olympic silver in his flagship discipline, the giant slalom, his first medal in major competitions after he clinched two World Cup wins in the same discipline in 2019 and 2020.

Mastnak, who was the runner-up in the men's parallel giant slalom slalom in Beijing, also earned his first Olympic medal, and sees the Olympic gold as the new challenge in his successful career, which includes silver at the world championship in 2019.

Kotnik showed how "stubborn and persistent she is by taking third place in the women's parallel giant slalom in Beijing to become certainly the biggest sensation in Team Slovenia at the Games," the award jury noted.

The feat came after the 33-year-old skipped one season to become mother, and "returned to competitions reborn".

Held at Brdo pri Kranju, the Bloudek Award ceremony was addressed by President Nataša Pirc Musar and Minister of the Economy, Tourism and Sport Matjaž Han.

Viktor Grošelj, the head of the Bloudek Prize committee, said they were "faced with increasingly difficult decisions every year due to the incredible achievements and development of Slovenian sports in recent years."

Another ten minor awards were presented at the ceremony, including awards for lifetime dedication to sport. The Bloudek Prize for major achievement comes with €9,000, while other awards come with €3,000. The total prize fund amounts to €84,000.

Branko Recek, Janez Slavič and Alojz Radelj were honoured for lifetime dedication to sport: Recek for his work as a volunteer, teacher and organiser of different sports events, Slavič for his efforts in harness racing, and Radelj for his work as a handball coach.

Last year, the main prizes went to the women's ski jumping team of Ema Klinec, Nika Križnar, Špela Rogelj and Urša Bogataj, the men's national basketball team and cross-country skier Anamarija Lampič, who has since switched to biathlon.


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