Beijing – Slovenian ski jumpers Nika Križnar, Urša Bogataj, Timi Zajc and Peter Prevc won the gold medal in the mixed team normal hill event at the Winter Olympics on Monday to make history as the first nation to win the event in its Olympic premiere in Beijing.
Slovenia finished a whopping 111.2 points ahead of the silver medal-winning Russia, while Canada (156.9 points behind Slovenia), whose ski jumpers are coached by Slovenia’s Bine Norčič, surprisingly won the bronze medal in an event that saw four disqualifications due to outfit irregularities.
In the first series, when the favoured teams of Japan, Austria and Germany were disqualified, Slovenia led the pack with a 49-point advantage ahead of Norway, which was later disqualified in the final round.
This is the third medal for Slovenia in Beijing in ski jumping and in general, after Bogataj won the gold medal and Križnar grabbed bronze in the women’s normal hill individual event on Saturday.
Prevc won his third Winter Olympic medal after silver in Sochi in 2014 on the normal hill and bronze on the large hill in the same competition, while this is the first Winter Olympic medal for Zajc.
Križnar, who is returning to Slovenia with two medals, said the atmosphere was nervous, also due to the disqualifications, adding that the Slovenian team tried not to think about that and to focus on their jumps.
“Despite all the fuss around us, we remained calm and performed well. I’m very proud of the whole team,” she told reporters of the public broadcaster TV Slovenija.
Zajc added that it was “really a great day! All four of us had great jumps today and I can say that we deserved to win.”
The double gold medallist Bogataj said that it was important that the Slovenian jumpers performed well despite “the weird competition, as disqualifications kept piling up.”
Peter Prevc, to whom the medal comes as a consolation of sorts after the 4th place in the men’s normal hill individual event, added that “it was difficult, but we made it” for the first time in the Olympic team event after Slovenia had been among the favourites there since 2013.
The mixed team event was the last competition on the normal hill at the Zhangjiakou Olympic venue. While female ski jumpers finished their performances at the Beijing Games today, their male counterparts are now moving to the large hill for the individual and team events.