Slovenia, the miracle country

Despite having 2 million inhabitants and barely 30 years of history, the Balkan country has already shone in Tour, Vuelta, Eurobasket or the Alpine Skiing World Cup.

Slovenia-the-miracle-country

The Republic of Slovenia has become one of the great bastions of world sport despite being a country with just 30 years of history after its independence from Yugoslavia in 1991 and with a population of just 2,097,195 inhabitants according to the Statistical Office of the country.

The latest great example of Slovenia's sporting boom is the triumph of the young Tadej Pogacar in the 2020 Tour de France. Pogacar already shone in the junior category although he made the big leap in 2018, when he was proclaimed winner of the Tour del Povenir. This made him earn a place in the UAE Emirates and make the leap to professionals in 2019, where he already demonstrated his qualities by winning the Volta ao Algarve, the Tour of California and three stages, the youth classification and third place in the general during the last Tour of Spain. This season Pogacar had already won two stages and the general of the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana, a stage in the UAE Tour and the Slovenian time trial nationals before taking the general of the Tour de France, in addition to the classification of the mountain and the award for best young man.

Before Pogacar's triumph in the Tour, Primoz Roglic had already made history by winning the Vuelta a España 2019 and getting Slovenia's first triumph in a major cycling tour (Roglic is also the only Slovenian cyclist to have won a stage in the big three). Right now Slovenia can boast of having two of the best cyclists in the world. Roglic also has a silver medal in the Bergen 2017 World Cup time trial, improving on Andrej Hauptman's bronze in the 2001 Lisbon World Cup road event, where Óscar Freire won.

Dragic and Doncic, the flag of Slovenian basketball

Pogacar's feat is comparable to the milestone that the Slovenian basketball team achieved in the Eurobasket in 2017, when Slovenia was proclaimed champion after defeating Spain in the semifinals and defeating Serbia in the final. Under the orders of Igor Kokoshkov, the team formed by Goran Dragic, Luka Doncic, Klemen Prepelic or Anthony Randolph made history with the conquest of the European title.

The success of Slovenian basketball has not only happened at the national team level. After winning everything with Real Madrid, Luka Doncic is now one of the sensations of the NBA despite spending two seasons in the best league in the world. The Slovenian is the star of the Dallas Mavericks and, after being chosen Rookie of the Year in 2019, this season he has entered the first ideal five of the NBA along with figures such as LeBron James, James Harden, Anthony Davis and Giannis Antetokoumpo. For his part, Goran Dragic is one of the pillars of the Miami Heat, one of the revelation teams of the Eastern Conference and that fights in the final of this conference to access the final for the NBA ring.

Oblak, the wall of Slovenia

Another of the great references of Slovenian sport is Jan Oblak. The Atlético de Madrid goalkeeper is one of the best goalkeepers in the world, as Oblak has been the goalkeeper with the fewest goals in four of the last five leagues and has the best coefficient in the history of the competition with only 18 goals conceded in 38 games. in the 2015-2016 season, equaling Paco Liaño's mark in the 93-94 season. In addition, Oblak is one title away from matching Antoni Ramallets and Víctor Valdés, who have been the league's fewest goalkeepers five times. Oblak's saves have meant numerous successes and many victories for Atlético de Madrid, including the conquest of a Spanish Super Cup, a Europa League and a European Super Cup, as well as being chosen as Footballer of the Year four times in Slovenia.

In football, the figure of Josip Ilicic, one of the great banners of Atalanta de Bergamo in recent seasons, also stands out. Before the stoppage due to the coronavirus (later he refused to play because of the tragedy that devastated Bergamo), Ilicic had scored 15 goals and given 8 assists in 26 Serie A games and was key in Atalanta's victory against Valencia in the second round Champions League final.

Tina Maze, the Slovenian muse of alpine skiing

Slovenia has also shone in winter sports (before making the leap to cycling Roglic competed in ski jumping) and its greatest exponent on the snow has been Tina Maze, one of only six women in win at least once in each of the five alpine skiing disciplines in the World Cup.

Tina Maze's extensive track record includes two Olympic golds in Sochi 2010, 4 world titles, a Crystal Globe in 2013 as well as 26 wins and 81 podiums in the World Cup events as well as eight Slovenian champion titles.

The last great successes of Slovenian sport in winter sports have come from the hand of Peter Prevc, who in the season 2015-2016 took control of three of the events of the Four Trampolines in addition to the final general.Other successes of Slovenian sport

Slovenia is also trying to gain a foothold in handball, where they have already been runners-up in Europe in 2004 and third in the 2017 World Cup.

In rowing, the figure of Iztok Cop stands out, winner of four Olympic medals, including a gold medal at the Sydney Olympic Games 2.000.

Slovenia also stands out in the whitewater canoeing events, where it accumulates a total of 32 medals in Europeans, 10 of them gold, and also worldwide, with 53 medals in total and 15 world titles.



Photos from as.com
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