Slovenian ski jumper Ursa Bogataj has been competing at her sport’s highest level ever since the inaugural women’s World Cup in 2011. But it was at the 2022 Winter Olympics that she recorded the first victory of her career.
Entering Beijing, the 26-year-old had never finished first at a World Cup or world championship event. Four years ago in PyeongChang, she placed 30th in her Olympic debut.
But on Saturday at Zhangjiakou National Ski Jumping Center, amid windy and challenging conditions, Bogataj persevered to win gold. Her final round jump received 239.0 points, enough to hang on for gold after a 236.8-point attempt from Germany’s Katharina Althaus, who earned her second straight Olympic silver medal.
With Bogataj’s teammate Nika Kriznar claiming bronze, the whole Slovenian contingent celebrating together in the finish area.
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With the win, Bogataj becomes just the second Slovenian athlete to win gold at the Winter Olympics, joining alpine skier Tina Maze, who won two gold medals at the 2014 Sochi Games.
And for anyone wondering, Ursa Bogataj is not related to Vinko Bogataj – the ski jumper whose epic crash in 1970 was featured in ABC’s Wide World of Sports representing the agony of defeat – though she did follow a relative into the sport: her father. She started ski jumping at age 11, initially on alpine skis.
“I didn’t expect it,” she said of her win. “The last Olympic Games were a little bit of a nightmare for me but today I couldn’t believe how well it went.”
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