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Top Slovak medal hopes for Salt Lake

Cross country skiing
Ivan Bátory
"The Olympics is always something special, it's not your average races," says Ivan Bátory. "Everyone asks me about my ambitions in Salt Lake City. My goal is to perform so that I will be able to be proud of myself. I believe that in the races I will be able to give everything that I worked hard for over the last three months."
Bátory, 24, is married. His top placements at the last Winter Olympics in Nagano were 11th in relay and 19th in the 50 kilometres race.


Ivan Bátory
photo: TASR

Cross country skiing
Ivan Bátory

"The Olympics is always something special, it's not your average races," says Ivan Bátory. "Everyone asks me about my ambitions in Salt Lake City. My goal is to perform so that I will be able to be proud of myself. I believe that in the races I will be able to give everything that I worked hard for over the last three months."

Bátory, 24, is married. His top placements at the last Winter Olympics in Nagano were 11th in relay and 19th in the 50 kilometres race.

He races for the Štrbské Pleso Sports Club, and is coached by Ján Ilavský. Like biathlete Soňa Mihoková, he is a Liptovský Mikuláš native who likes nature and sports in general.



Soňa Mihoková
photo: TASR

Biathlon
Soňa Mihoková

"Until now, in the past three Olympics that I attended, I have always improved my finishes," says 30-year-old biathlete Soňa Mihoková. "In Nagano (in 1998) I twice ranked fourth. I wouldn't mind if this trend towards improvement kept up in this Olympics. But you never know, biathlon is an unpredictable sport."

Mihoková was Slovakia's most successful sports representative in Nagano, where she ranked fourth in the 7.5 kilometres and fourth in women's relay.

She is single and was born in Liptovský Mikuláš. She races for the Osrblie biathlon club and is coached by Juraj Sanitra. She says her favorite sport apart from biathlon is tennis.



Jana Šeďová
photo: TASR

Snowboard
Jana Šeďová

"I enjoy standing on the winners' pedestal and that's my dream for the Salt Lake City games as well," said Slovak snowboarding star Jana Šeďová.

"I'm not one of those people who are easily influenced by psychological pressures. I'm fine and I believe in myself."

Although in Nagano Šeďová was knocked out of the competition after the first round, she is considered a big hope for Slovakia in Salt Lake City.

She recently turned 28, and was born and lives in Bratislava. She races with Burton Snowboard club and her coach is the Italian Sigi Prey. She likes music and windsurfing.

She is the only snowboarder Slovakia is sending to this year's Winter Olympics.



Veronika Zuzulová
photo: TASR

Alpine skiing
Veronika Zuzulová

Rookie hope Veronika Zuzulová returned recently from the European Cup slalom in Slovenia's Rogle where she finished second. She also took second in November 2001 in the Finnish Levi.

Zuzulová had little time to talk to the media about her goals for the Olympics, but her recent achievements lead many to believe she is one of Slovakia's biggest hopes.

She ranked tenth recently in slalom in the Swedish Aare World Cup series. She said she achieved the result by simply "getting angry, letting the skis slide down the slope and going as fast as I could. I'm happy I made it into the World Cup finals. But now I'm concentrating on the Olympics."

She's 18, a native of Bratislava and is coached by her father.

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