Ski jumper Peter Prevc wrapping up brilliant career
Slovenia's ski jumping champion Peter Prevc has announced he will end what has been one of the most successful careers in the history of the sport after this season.
"It has taken a while to reach the decision ... My heart told me to open a new page," Prevc told reporters on 6 February, adding that he was not sure yet what he would focus on next, and would talk about that after the end of the season.
Peter Prevc announces his decision to end his career. Photo: Boštjan Podlogar/STA
Hailing from Dolenja Vas, east of Kranj, the eldest sibling of the ski jumping Prevc family has won seven medals at major events, including an Olympic gold medal in the mixed competition in Beijing 2022.
In Sochi 2014, he won silver and bronze individually and moreover took Olympic silver in the team event in Beijing. He also has three medals from ski jumping World Championships; one team bronze from 2011 and individual silver and bronze medals from 2013.
Prevc's peak came in the 2015/2016 season, in which he set a series of milestones. He bagged 15 of his 23 World Cup victories in that winter, stood on the podium 22 times in what were 29 events and collected 2,303 points, which remain record figures.
In the season when he also won the world champion title in ski flying in Austria's Kulm, Prevc attracted more than 110,000 spectators to the home ski jumping hill in Planica for the World Cup season finale.
There, he won two individual victories as the icing on the cake, earning a total of 2,303 points for the record mark in history, and also scored a record margin ahead of the runner-up Germany's Severin Freund, who was more than 800 points behind.
Peter Prevc in Planica in March 2016 when he won the Crystal Globe for the overall Ski Jumping World Cup victory of the season. Photo: Stanko Gruden/STA
"Such a season will be difficult to repeat. I'll tell you that right now," Prevc said after the season finale in Planica, as if he had known it would be difficult to live up to the expectations and cope with pressure in the next season.
Nevertheless, Prevc has repeatedly proved he can handle the pressure, especially when stakes are high, doing this for the last time just over a week ago by helping secure Slovenia the second consecutive team win at the Ski Flying World Championships.
While he was also besieged by injuries, he always managed to climb back, last winning a World Cup event in 2020 and missing an individual Olympic medal in Beijing two years ago by a hair's length. He is presently ranked 13th in the World Cup.
Prevc has also been excellent on giant hills and became in 2015 the first person to cross the 250 metre-mark. He shares the record of three victories in the overall ski flying rankings. He was Ski Flying World Champion in 2016 and won bronze in 2014, while also bagging gold with the team in 2022 and 2024.
He will finish his career with at least 35 World Cup victories, having also contributed to all of the 12 Slovenian wins in team events. He is 12th in the perpetual rankings for the most individual victories and the most podiums (57).
Despite his major accomplishments, Prevc has always acted calm and prudent, even more so after the birth of his two children, when the focus shifted from ski jumping to his family.
Peter Prevc against the backdrop of Slovenian flags in Planica. Photo: Anže Malovrh/STA
He has inspired many young up-and-coming athletes and served as a unifying force for sports public and fans, who flocked to see him compete. He has also earned the respect of his rivals that spanned different generations of ski jumpers.
"I would like to be remembered by my colleagues for the fact that sometimes we did something together. And I hope that I proved to younger people that it doesn't matter what you have, that you can be successful, that it's not only the equipment that brings success, but that it's your personal choices that can bring you success," the 31-year-old said about his legacy.
Chances are that he will not be the only member of the family with the large crystal globe after the end of this season, as Nika Prevc leads the overall standings in the women's World Cup, ready to write another chapter in the dynasty's rich legacy.
"It's interesting and phenomenal that four top jumpers come from one family, but what the reasons are I don't know," Peter said about his family's ski jumping success story.
Prevc will conclude his career at the 21-24 March World Cup finals in Slovenia's Planica, where he has stood on the podium 18 times so far.
"I've been enjoying the whole season ... I reckon I'll be in my best form in late March. Posibly for a world record," Prevc said, indicating he is determined to make his exit in grand style.