Slovenia got two new heroes this winter. Alpine skier Tina Maze and biathlete Jakov Fak. While Maze flew to her 5th win in the giant slalom in the French Courchevel, I saw Fak slide to a second place in the 15 kilometre race of the biathlon world cup in Pokljuka in Slovenia.
We Dutch have our iceskating, the Slovenes have skiing. The biathlon world cup in Pokljuka was the first skiing event I visited in my live. On the 1300 high plateau Pokljuka there were two tribunes, one for VIP’s and one for the rest. Contrary to, for example a cycling race, you can’t search for a nice place along the course to see the race. All spectators have to be on the two podiums or along a hundred metre long stretch of the course. Nevertheless, I saw a great race. And if it weren’t for a heavy fog that made things in the last of four laps near invisible, things were perfect.
Hero of the day Fak, in the pictures the guy in yellow with number 5, won the first race of the world cup on thursday. The 25 year old biathlete is originally Croation but he changed his passport at the end of 2010 and the Slovenes embraced him. Every time the speaker mentioned him loud cheering rose from the crowd. Fak came out of the heavy fog as 2nd of the day, 17 seconds behind German winner Andreas Birnbacher.