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Higher standards, harder medals

AT THE recent Summer Olympic Games in Athens Slovakia achieved its best ever performance in the country's history (including the period within the Czechoslovak Federation). With six medals (2 gold, 2 silver and 2 bronze) Slovakia finished up among the first 30 countries out of more than 200 participating nations.
The Slovak Spectator asked the chairman of the Slovak Olympic Committee, František Chmelár, for an evaluation of the results the Republic achieved, as well as a prediction as to how the country might perform at the next Olympics in Beijing in 2008.


MOMENT of glory.
photo: Andrea Zererová

AT THE recent Summer Olympic Games in Athens Slovakia achieved its best ever performance in the country's history (including the period within the Czechoslovak Federation). With six medals (2 gold, 2 silver and 2 bronze) Slovakia finished up among the first 30 countries out of more than 200 participating nations.

The Slovak Spectator asked the chairman of the Slovak Olympic Committee, František Chmelár, for an evaluation of the results the Republic achieved, as well as a prediction as to how the country might perform at the next Olympics in Beijing in 2008.


The Slovak Spectator (TSS): In retrospect how does the Slovak Olympic Committee evaluate the achievements of the Slovak Republic at the recent Summer Olympics in Athens.

František Chmelár (FCH): Our overall assessment at the Olympic Games in Athens is a positive one. Six medals (2 gold, 2 silver and 2 bronze) brought us up to 29th place, out of the 209 countries which took part. Other results were also favourable, but not all our athletes achieved the results they wanted, or indeed expected. You could say there were disappointments in tennis, weight-lifting and wrestling, and in one case there was also a problem with using illegal substances. However, all in all, we were more successful than in Sydney, although it would not be right to overestimate our success.


TSS: What were the medal expectations of the Slovak Olympic Committee before the Olypic Games?

FCH: We were expecting five medals, dreaming of seven, so six medals is a kind of welcome compromise.


TSS: Which events do you think could bring success to Slovakia at the next Olympic games in Beijing, and how many medals will Slovakia aspire to in 2008?

FCH: In the first place, it is necessary to qualify for the Olympic competitions. If we go through the preliminary stages then medals could be won by those who were successful in Athens, providing they continue and we have a number of young athletes, who are achieving international performances at the junior level, especially in water slalom, canoeing, shooting, swimming, judo and tennis.


TSS: What is the Slovak Olympic Committee doing to improve Slovakia's medal prospects in Beijing?

FCH: The Slovak Olympic Committee will initiate an "Olympic Top Team" programme, and within its framework we will try to create conditions to optimise the preparation of our sportsmen and sportswomen. Of course, much depends on money. However, improving upon our Slovak medal collection when in Beijing will be very difficult. Each time it becomes more difficult, simply because the standard of competition on the international stage, within sport, is continually growing, especially in Asia.


TSS: What is your overall assessment of the Olympic Games in Athens?

FCH: Prior concerns that the Greek organisers would be unprepared with their venues were unfounded. Also the Games were safe, friendly, peaceful, dignified, full of culture and sent out an educational message. All those involved, the athletes and administrators, brought home the most beautiful memories. Athens and the Greeks presented themselves with respect towards tradition as well as to the modern European and international community.

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