Vying for his fourth Olympic medal at Beijing 2022, Slovenian snowboarder Zan Kosir believes COVID-19 restrictions could make it easier for him to keep focused on the competition.
By Marja Vogric
LJUBLJANA, Dec. 2 (Xinhua) -- Slovenian snowboarder Zan Kosir, who is preparing to compete at his fourth Olympic Games in Beijing in February, told Xinhua that COVID-19 measures mean athletes will be more isolated than at the Games that took place before the pandemic.
Kosir, who is one of only two snowboarders with three Olympic medals and is aiming to add another medal to his silver and two bronze, said that there might be something positive in that.
"I will be able to stay in my world, exclude the environment because it is very important for me to ... disconnect my head before such a competition," Kosir said in an interview on Wednesday.
"I think I will succeed in that as we will not be able to socialize so it should be easier to focus on the competition itself," he added.
Zan Kosir celebrates finishing his parallel giant slalom run at the 2018 PyeongChang Olympic Winter Games at Phoenix Snow Park, South Korea, Feb. 24, 2018. He won the bronze medal in the small final. (Xinhua/Wu Zhuang)
The 37-year-old said that he is used to competing without spectators who would support him on the ground as he won his Olympic medals in Russia and South Korea, which are both far from Slovenia so he did not have spectators' support.
"In a way it motivates me if viewers are against me. What is better than to win against a competitor who is competing at home?"
He also pointed out that Chinese snowboarders have become much more competitive over the past years and have more self-confidence than before, also with the help of their Slovenian coaches.
Kosir, who will compete in parallel giant slalom, has in 2019 competed at the Secret Garden, where his Olympic race will take place.
"The slope suits me because it is more demanding and longer than those we compete on in the World Cup," he commented.
Zan Kosir competes in the FIS Snowboard World Cup 2018-19 in Zhangjiakou, north China's Hebei Province . (Ski Association of Slovenia/Xinhua)
Although he has also won World Cup and World Championships medals, Kosir said the Olympic medals have more value to him than the others.
"This competition takes place only every four years and is the only competition in my sport that is being followed around the globe," he said.
He believes that the host will be able to ensure a smooth competition despite the COVID-19 restrictions and possible complications related to the epidemic.
"I do not burden myself by thinking about possible complications related to COVID-19, my biggest worry is my form at the Games... I want to be in as good a form as possible and I want to focus on my performance at the competition," he said.
Zan Kosir competes in the snowboard men's parallel slalom 1/8 finals at the 2014 Sochi Olympic Winter Games in Russia, Feb. 22, 2014. (Xinhua/Fei Maohua)
Although he is 37, he has no plans to end his career any time soon but said that it would be great to compete at the next Olympic Games which will take place in neighbouring Italy as his supporters would be able to follow the competition on the ground there.
Slovenia expects to send about 45 athletes to the Games who will compete in up to seven disciplines. The exact number will be determined after qualifications end in the middle of January. ■