The Slovenia Times

Nika Prevc raises crystal globe as Planica fest gets under way

Nika Prevc holds the Crystal Globe as the overall Ski Jumping World Cup winner in Planica. Photo: STA
The Ski Jumping World Cup meet in Slovenia's Planica got off to a triumphant start as the country's champion of the season, Nika Prevc, took the crystal globe for the overall World Cup victory in the women's competition.

Having already secured the cup in the penultimate event, Prevc rounded the feat off by finishing third in the last event in Planica on 21 March.

Austrian Eva Pinkelnig won the event by setting the women's record on the normal hill, the third largest in Planica, at 103.5 metres. Alexandria Loutitt of Canada placed second. Pinkelnig finished second overall, having won the cup last year, and Loutitt third.

Canada's Alexandria Loutitt, Austria's Eva Pinkelnig and Slovenia's Nika Prevc on the podium at the Ski Jumping World Cup final in Planica. Photo: STA
"I'm hardly able to carry the big crystal globe around, but I'm really happy that I now have one of my own. I don't care if it's that heavy, it matches the effort I've invested in this season," the 19-year-old Slovenian champion told TV Slovenija.

"To win the globe in front of home fans, family and friends is indescribable. I will never forget this," she added. The fans vigorously cheered the jumpers despite the rain.

In a total of 25 events in the season, Austria decidedly won the Nations Cup with 3,891 points, followed by Slovenia with 3,442, and Japan with 1,505 points.

Winning the crystal globe, Nika Prevc joined her eldest brother Peter Prevc, who won the men's World Cup in 2016. They are the first siblings ever to both win the Ski Jumping World Cup. Considered by many as Slovenia's best jumper of all time, Peter will end his career at the final men's event in Planica on Sunday.

The first day of the Planica meet, featuring the women's competition and qualifying for the first individual event for men on Friday, attracted a crowd of 14,000 fans, including 10,000 children and youth who traditionally come for the qualifying every year.

In another highlight of the day, Polish President Andrzej Duda decorated Slovenian ski jumper Anže Lanišek with the Gold Cross of Merit for his "outstanding sportsmanship, promotion of the spirit of fair play in sport, and for fostering very good relations between Poles and Slovenians, and between the two countries".

The reward comes after Lanišek paid tribute to Polish jumper Dawid Kubacki during last year's finale in Planica. Placing third overall, Lanišek brought a life-size cardboard cutout of Kubacki to the podium in Planica to show that the Pole should be on the podium.

Having been in contention to win the World Cup, Kubacki had to end last season early due to his wife's grave illness.

Slovenian ski jumper Anže Lanišek with a cut-out image of his Polish counterpart Dawid Kubacki at the 2023 Planica Ski-Jumping World Cup final. Photo: STA
"I'm very happy and honoured to receive [the decoration]. But, as I've said many times, it's just a matter of fair-play. To anyone involved in top-level sport, it should feel normal. To me, it feels normal," he said about his gesture, which he said he would not hesitate to repeat again if necessary.

The season finale in Planica continues with the first individual event for men on Friday, to be followed by the men's team event on Saturday and another individual competition for the best 30 jumpers on Sunday.

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