Sochi 2014: A death threat and pop chart hit – Tina Maze’s route to gold
Sochi 2014: Tina Maze has been through a lot in her 13-year career but has finally put Slovenia firmly on the Winter Olympics map
Joint downhill gold medallist Tina Maze is not used to sharing the limelight.
On Wednesday she had no option, standing side-by-side on top of the podium after equalling good friend Dominique Gisin’s quickest mark in the biggest prize in women’s skiing, the downhill.
During her 13-year career the Slovenian star has broken the legendary Hermann Maier’s record for points in a World Cup season for which she received a death threat, won two World Championship golds and even topped her small nation’s charts with her hit ‘My way is my decision’.
We’re building good sports people. We have big hearts, too. We didn’t have that much self-confidence in past years. Now it’s growing in sport
However, winning Slovenia’s first ever Winter Olympic gold is possibly her proudest achievement yet and her jubilant reaction said it all despite her blowing a small advantage three quarters of the way down the run.
“It’s incredible in our sport how small the distances are,” said the 30-year-old.
“I think that’s the challenge of our sport – the hundredths count.
“The tie is not that bad, it is even more interesting. It is better to have two on the podium, two happy faces.”
Maze was already the most decorated Slovenian Winter Olympian with two silvers in Vancouver but her latest feat will raise her profile even further back home where she has been named Sportsperson of the Year three times.
She hopes her success will inspire further Slovenian medals and believes the country is moving in the right direction.
“The school system is working,” she said. “We’re building good sports people. We have big hearts, too. We didn’t have that much self-confidence in past years. Now it’s growing in sport.”
Maze made worldwide headlines in 2013 with a record-breaking 24 World Cup podium finishes, achieving 11 victories and the highest points total (2,414) ever achieved.
She was placed under police protection for the remainder of the event in Germany having received a death threat after breaking the points record.
Maze’s stunning year was completed when she won the super-G at the World Championships in Schladming, Austria, to add to the gold she picked up in the 2011 giant slalom in Germany.
With both those events still to come in Sochi, Maze has every chance to add to her medal tally. Next time however, she’ll be hoping to have the top of the podium all to herself.
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