"Get ready, here we go, Slovenia."

Photo: Tamino Petelinšek/STA

It was with these words that Slovenian Alpine skier Tina Maze addressed the Slovenian public via video link from the Downhill in Cortina d'Ampezzo. A similar video message was sent by Slovenian ski jumper Peter Prevc: "Be the champions of the first league."

Slovenian athletes have already put on their Olympic Colours. For the first time before leaving for Russia, the Slovenian sports expedition gathered on Wednesday, 22 January, for an official presentation to the Slovenian public. Numbering 66 members at the moment, the Slovenian team for Sochi may be even bigger if other national teams cancel. However, all will be clear on 26 January, the closing date for the registration.
Winning an Olympic medal is certainly an ideal gift for any athlete participating in the Sochi Games. However, only a handful of athletes have real chances of winning a medal, while the rest will return only with new experience, memories and good results.

The Slovenian team at the Sochi Winter Olympics, which will be held from 7 to 23 February, was selected by the Executive Committee of the Olympic Committee of Slovenia. At the opening ceremony, the Slovenian flag will be carried by Tomaž Razingar, captain of Slovenia's hockey team. The Slovenian delegation comprises athletes competing in eight sports. The biggest is the hockey team, which consists of 25 players. The ski-jumping and snow-boarding teams each have nine members; the Alpine skiing team consists of eight members, the biathlon team of six, and the cross-country team of five; three athletes will compete in Nordic Combined and one in freestyle.

The official unveiling was in the absence of Slovenia's team top high-scoring athletes: Tina Maze (twice a winner of silver at the Olympic Winter Games four years ago in Vancouver), the ski-jumping team, who are taking part in the World Cup competition in Japan at the end of this week, and the men's ice-hockey team, with Anže Kopitar in the line-up, also absent due to their sporting commitments. The absence of biathlete Jakov Fak was due to recent health problems.

The send-off ceremony was attended by the Slovenian highest political representatives. The President of Slovenia, Borut Pahor, confirmed his presence in Sochi from 6 to 9 February to root for Slovenian athletes in cross-country skiing and the biathlon. Slovenian Prime Minister Alenka Bratušek, National Assembly Speaker Janko Veber and Defence Minister Roman Jakič also attended the ceremony.

Photo: Tamino Petelinšek/STA

The biggest and strongest Slovenian team ever in the history of independent Slovenia is bound for the Sochi Winter Olympics

Janez Kocjančič. Photo: Stanko Gruden/STA

The President of the Slovenian Olympic Committee, Janez Kocijančič: "The biggest and strongest Slovenian team ever in the history of independent Slovenia is bound for the Sochi Winter Olympics. Seven medal winners at world championships in Olympic sports in the past season are among you. Our task is to provide support for you, so that in the biggest competition over a four-year period you show what you know and what you can do to the best of your ability.

Among those who are undoubtedly awaiting the 22nd Olympic Games eagerly is Petra Majdič, our Vancouver bronze-medal heroine and currently the captain of the Slovenian Olympic team in Sochi. "In the last few weeks, I have really devoted a great deal of time to preparing for the Olympics. The role of team captain is not an easy one, which is why I am trying to pay most of my attention to it and to be closely involved in the entire development of events. The selection criteria in Slovenia and in the world are changing and are more stringent every year; we would all like to achieve good results and high competitiveness for our athletes. Slovenia is a small country of very diverse sports; we have high-scoring competitors, so it is important to present them to the global elite in the right light. Life has taught me that that whatever happens to you is what is meant to be, and we should take on only the burdens that we are able to handle. For all athletes, the Olympic Games will be a good learning experience. I hope that in a positive way, and that as few competitors as possible are disappointed."

The only thing that seriously worries her is the weather. The Vancouver Winter Olympics hinged on the weather and she expects Sochi to be the same. "No matter how well the athletes are prepared, they cannot fight the weather."

In the preliminary round in Sochi, Slovenia will be represented in team sports grouped with superpowers Russia, the USA, and Slovakia for the first time in history. 

Among the Slovenian Olympic national teams, the hockey team is definitely the one to see to an exceptional and biggest event in the Games. The national hockey team coach, Matjaž Kopitar said: "I don't think that our players have Olympic jitters. We have done a lot by making it to the Olympics and, we are relaxed in our expectations of this event. Players from different clubs are constantly in contact through social media; the chemistry is excellent. We all want to give a great performance and to be competitive with our rivals. I hope we will give it 110% of our abilities, and then success will come. We hope that the injuries will be at a minimum and that all the players who are on the list will actually perform. Our expectations are high, because we will be playing against great teams. I hope we will put aside the fact that we were eliminated from the world elite hockey league in the World Championship and that in Sochi we will be able to play our best. I also wish that our Olympic appearance will have a positive effect on the development of hockey in our country, but, to be honest, I do not see anything major on the horizon."

Slovenian athletes dressed in green, blue and white outfits at the Olympics

The Slovenian national team players have shown in person what clothes they will be wearing at the Games. The basic colour combination includes green, blue and white.

In the Olympic outfit collection, which was selected by sportswear manufacturer Peak and designed by Slovenian architect Sandi Murovec, the prevailing graphic image will be the symbol of Triglav. When designing the outfit, the Olympic Committee of Slovenia adopted a policy of making the collection simple, energetic, and young on the one hand, and visible on the other hand. We have continued this trend as a follow-up from the London Summer Olympic Games in 2012, with fresh and vivid colours – green, blue and white – to which we added different combinations of the Triglav symbol. Much emphasis was placed on design, as well as on high-quality fabric and comfort, which will contribute to the well-being of the members of the Slovenian Olympic team at the Olympics.

Designer Sandi Murovec:  It is essential that London already proved the correctness of our decision to determine the spectrum of colours precisely. We have created a new colour map, which in the future is to be the strongest segment of visual identification of Slovenian national teams. With this decision, we hit the nail on the head, and in less than a year, almost the entire Slovenian sports world was dressed in these colours. This is why the Sochi 2014 Olympic collection is continuing this direction; however, we are trying to add some new graphic elements, with the image of Triglav standing out the most. It is difficult for me to assess the collection, in fact, it would not be appropriate. However, I do believe that our athletes will be among the most recognisable and totally trendy. The official attire that members of the Slovenian Olympic team will be wearing at the opening and closing ceremonies and at the medal-awarding events will this time be in a sports style; it is also possible to buy the sports fan collection featuring clothes from the official Sochi 2014 Olympic collection, caps, headbands, scarf and gloves, from Mercator supermarkets and at selected HIP HOP Petrol stations.

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