Spectator on facebook

Spectator on facebook

Slovaks second in downhill World Cup

The Slovak team of four beat over-confident Germany, Italy and Switzerland losing only to France to take the first-ever medal in this competition.

L-R: Slovak Matej Falat compeets against French Mathieu Faivre in St Moritz, February 14. (Source: AP/TASR)

Of the four Slovak skiers who competed in St Moritz in the Alpine skiing teams' competition, Matej Falat was an outsider who has never finished a race in the World Cup and usually ends up in the bottom part of the results table. However, he started the finals of this World Cup as part of a team fighting for a gold medal and he gave the performace of his life. It was also greatly thanks to him that Slovakia won the silver in a very close race, losing by a mere eight hundredths of a second, the Sme daily wrote.

“We had not counted on this, although we believed that we could get a good result,“ Falat said. „It is smashing to win a medal at the World Cup. Our girls were tremendous.“

And truly, as expected, it was mostly women who pulled the team to victory. In the qualifying competition for the parallel slalom, Veronika Velez-Zuzulová and Petra Vlhová won all their races and they were complemented by Falat who replaced the injured Adam Žampa at the last moment.

In the early rounds, it was Falat, aged 24, who beat the German favourite, Felix Neureuther, current No 5 in the World Cup who specialises in the slalom. The Slovak team qualified after a 3:1 victory over Germany – which did not use its best skier, Linus Strasser, keeping him for the next round.

In the quarter-finals, the Slovaks beat Italy by the same margin. In the semi-finals, only Velez-Zuzulová and Vlhová beat their Swiss rivals but with the 2:2 draw, the Slovak team qualified again thanks to the better combined times of their best woman and best man, winning by six hundredth of a second.

The Slovak team also finished with a draw in the finals. After four races, the result was 2:2 with France but the French had a better combined time, winning by eight hundredths of a second.

Andreas Žampa did not win a single race in the whole competititon but it was thanks to his time in the semi-finals that Slovakia made it to the fight for gold. His brother Adam, considered a favourite, was injured and could not ski. It appeared that with Falat, Slovakia could not even dream of a medal but the seeming outsider became an unexpected hero, Sme wrote. The injured Adam Žampa and junior racer Tereza Jančová did not compete but were on the team list so they also received medals.

The Slovak skiers rejoiced after the competition. „Each one of us in the team had a different colour of ski-suite but we all have the same heart – Slovak. This is the most important thing,“ Velez-Zuzulová reacted for the public RTVS TV channel.

„We were considered outsiders by all but we showed them that anything is possible,“ Vlhová commented. „We are happy; it is great for Slovakia to have a medal. We all gave excellent performances.“

Top stories

EU roaming fees to end on June 15 – in theory

Slovak customers still waiting to find out how mobile operators will implement change.

Archaeologist pieces together early history of what is now western Slovakia Photo

For an archaeologist, the most important thing is his most recent rare discovery, says Július Vavák.

Students visited Svätý Jur as part of their European Wanderer project

How to sell Slovak books to English readers

Slovak literature makes it to the big bookstores of London, but it is unlikely to become a bestseller yet.

On Wednesday, Slovak literature will be presented in one of the biggest bookstores in London. Among the new books translated into English is also the anthology of current Slovak prose selected and translated by Magdalena Mullek and Júlia Sherwood.

General Prosecutor filed a motion for the dissolution of ĽSNS

The Slovak Supreme Court received a motion to dissolve the extreme right ĽSNS party founded and led by Marian Kotleba.

Jaromír Čižnár