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“We've all come so far already and we must not give up now”
© Volk/NordicFocus

Slovenian future hope Silva Verbic joined this week’s Tuesday Talk to share about her first full World Cup season and the upcoming home World Championships in Planica.

Find out, how important colleague Ema Volavsek is for the 20-year-old from Kranj and how she stays motivated after the disappointing IOC decision.

The women’s first full World Cup season is in the books. Looking back at it now, how happy are you with your results? 
Looking back, I'm really happy with my progress from the last World Cup season, especially because I struggled with my Ski Jumping for the past two years and this winter I finally managed to get it back on a high level. I'm satisfied with my first top 10 finish and 16th place overall.

You’ve been also participating very successfully in the Alpencup. Do you prefer the smaller events to the big stage of the World Cup?
No, I would not say I prefer them. There is still the adrenalin from the big crowds, media and stronger opponents in the World Cup that make you more excited for those events. Although in my opinion, smaller events are really important for building confidence and your own routine that you can transfer to the World Cup competitions.

Together with Ema Volavsek you form Slovenias national team. Does competition or team spirit predominate for you?
For me it is definitely team spirit. In a small team such as ours you have to stick together, push one another forward and be happy for teammates successes, because at the end that is also the shoulder you can lean on when things don't go your way. But, of course a small amount of competition between us is desired and it keeps us motivated in every training.

Talking about Slovenia: The season highlight 2023 will take place in your home country with the Nordic World Ski Championships. Does the pressure to perform or the anticipation of the Slovenian fans prevail for you?
I feel both. I am super excited to compete on home soil and home facilities in front of Slovenian people, home fans, but I also feel a little pressure for the same reasons. I am really happy that we can host such a big event and show Slovenian people what an attractive and unpredictable sport Nordic Combined really is.

For the first time, also a Nordic Combined Mixed Team event will take place at the championships in Planica. What makes this event special in your opinion?
In my opinion the charm of the Mixed Team event is the variety of nations that could be on the top. It is easier for smaller nations to form a competitive team and the event is therefore more exciting and tied.

Unfortunately, the IOC decided against the integration of the Nordic Combined women in the OWG 2026. Is it difficult to stay motivated as an athlete now, after this big disappointment? 
It is difficult to stay motivated especially because we've all been working toward that goal and really believed we would get the chance in 2026. For me it was really hard for the first few days after the IOC decision, I did lose a lot of motivation, but as soon as I realized that we still have World Championships and World Cup seasons to look forward to, my motivation mostly came back. We've all come so far already and we must not give up now.

If you could tell the IOC members about Nordic Combined, what would you say? 
Nordic Combined is exciting because of the two completely different sports that form it. You have to be good at both disciplines to be on top. Athletes actually practice two sports at once, put in double hours, work twice as hard. You gain nothing - or very little - for the Cross County part with Ski Jumping training and reverse. That is what makes Nordic Combined difficult and attractive at the same time.

 
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