Three representatives for Montenegro at the XXIII Olympic Winter Games “PyeongChang 2018”;

The Olympic Winter Games (OWG) "PyeongChang 2018" will be held from February 9 to 25, and Montenegro will be represented by three athletes: Eldar Salihovic and Jelena Vujicic in alpine; and Marija Bulatovic in cross-country skiing. Salihovic and Vujicic will compete in slalom and giant slalom, while Bulatovic will do a ten-kilometer run.

This will be a third appearance for Montenegrin athletes at the OWG since the country gained independence in 2006. In Vancouver 2010, Bojan Kosic competed as a sole representative (41st in slalom and 61st in giant slalom); four years later, in Sochi, Montenegro had two athletes fighting for at the Games, Tarik Hadzic (38th in slalom and 62th in giant slalom) and Ivana Bulatovic (44th slalom).

The President of MOC, Dusan Simonovic, said that he was glad that Montenegro finally had representatives in Cross-Country Skiing. "This is very important because of the affirmation of Montenegrin sport and the promotion of Montenegro's significant resources in dealing with winter sports, which have so far have not been exploited fully," said Simonovic.

The president of MOC emphasized that the success in qualifying by young Jelena Vujicic was a surprise, stating that her participation was not expected until some of the future Winter Olympic Games. "All of us were delighted and surprised that she achieved the standards in slalom and giant slalom. Our obligation is to support her efforts in the future, and to give back for the pleasant surprise she has given us. We started the project of the PyeongChang Winter Olympics back in 2016, by sponsoring six athletes with 500 US dollars. Because of her age, Vujicic was not on the scholarship list at that time", said Simonovic.

He announced that the flag at the ceremonial opening ceremony of the OWG 2018 will be carried by Jelena Vujicic. "We decided that she, as our youngest participant, will bear the flag at the ceremony. We hope for a favorable result and, in our eyes, every result below the starting number is an achievement", concluded the President of the MOC.

The President of the Skiing Association of Montenegro, Vesna Medenica, said that it is her pleasure that the Cross-Country Skiing is finally coming back to Montenegro. "We used to be the superpower in this discipline, right after Slovenia, and we know where Slovenia is now in that sport. I hope that the participation of Marija Bulatovic at the Olympic Winter Games will be a good incentive for everyone who is thinking of joining this sport", said Medenica.

She stressed that the Skiing Association of Montenegro recognized youth and estimated that talented skiers should be encouraged and invested in. "We do not expect spectacular surprises, but what is significant for Montenegrin skiing is the fact that we will be participating in one big sporting event, and that we are continuing to have more and more participants in the OWG every year", Medenica said.

The head of the Montenegrin mission in PyeongChang, Rajko Kosić, said that the growth of the number of Montenegrin athletes on the OWG shows that the Montenegrin Skiing Association has a clear goal, a good program and evident progress from one cycle to the next one. "Our goal in these Games is to try to be as little as possible behind top athletes. This will give us strength and motives to do even more and approach the high-standard skiing. The result is of interest to us, and the final placement will depend on who finishes the race and who does not", Kosic said.

Eldar Salihovic thanked everyone who helped the development of Montenegrin skiing athletes in the past. "I'm glad we came to this level, because it is the greatest sport among winter sports. The Olympic Games are the dream of every athlete and the participation on this competition alone is already a huge success", Salihovic said.

Jelena Vujicic claimed that the feeling was unreal. "Thanks to everyone for the help, above all to the Skiing Association, to my coach and to my family. The feeling is unbelievable, because when you try hard for a long while and an opportunity opens up to take part in such a big competition, it is very difficult to say what you are feeling. It is an extraordinary experience to have", said Vujicic.

For Marija Bulatovic, Winter Olympics are a great experience and an incredible feeling. "For the first time, someone from Montenegro is on the OWG in cross-country. I thank the Association and the Montenegrin Olympic Committee for their support, I will try to achieve the best possible result", said Bulatovic.

The competition in the women's giant slalom will be held on February 12, while slalom will take place two days later. For men, giant slalom is scheduled on February 18, while slalom will be held four days later. The race in cross country, on ten thousand meters, is on the program for February 15.

The opening ceremony of the Olympic Winter Games "PyeongChang 2018" is to be held on February 9. On February 8, the Montenegrin flag will be raised in the Olympic Village.

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