Franci Petek – former ski jumper and current Director of Ski Association of Slovenia
In April 2017, Slovenian Ski Association received new management as Franci Petek succeeded to the position of the Managing Director. With a PhD in geography and one in Montessori pedagogy, he is better known to the majority of Slovenes as one of the most popular ski jumpers. At the 1992 winter Olympics in Albertville, he placed 6th, after already winning medals for Yugoslavia in the past – one of his biggest achievements was the gold medal, won in Italy in 1991. Petek's special precedence in the seat of the Managing Director of Slovenian Ski Association comes with his experience as a former top athlete who in his youth observed the sport branch in detail, and is at the same time very familiar with the demands and needs of the athletes. He skilfully utilises his pedagogical sense when raising awareness about the importance of integrated development already with the youngest athletes, and hopes to start a new chapter in the management of Ski Association.
What were your priority tasks upon succeeding to the position of the Managing Director?
Coming to this position, I thought it most important not to impede the daily tasks of individual branches. My main priority in the first year is a detailed insight into the operations of the largest Slovenian sports organisation.
Which direction would you like to steer the development of Slovenian ski sports toward?
I wish for as many children as possible to see all the beauty of ski sports, which will be the basis for the success of mature generations. Namely, when nursing ski culture as a nation's identity and upgrading expert doctrines, success will come by itself.
What improvements and progressive tasks do you have planned?
I believe not only resounding results of our athletes but also values we live for and strive toward can make us recognisable. Only then are we really making progress.
What are the differences in ski jumping now and back when you were jumping?
If I joke a bit, everything changed but the jumping itself. It has become a very professional sport and this can be seen in every aspect, from the preparation stage, to the competition and every related matter, e.g. promoting and marketing activities.
How do you perceive your career? What are your favourite moments you like to look back at?
I like to remember my most successful moments very much. Less successful ones fade away with time, but remain as an incentive for achieving better results. Above all, I like to remember meeting new people and friends.
How does a jumper in the best possible way prepare for a new season and make sure they are in the best shape possible?
Foremost, they have to follow the programme, prepared by the experts from this line of work.
As a former ski jumper, would you like to share a piece of advice with our "devilish girls"?
Hard work pays off.
Does women's ski jumping get enough publicity by the media and the audience?
I believe it does. Women's ski jumping is still a relatively young sports discipline on its path of developing. You need patience and time for these things. However, a lot has already been done. In the end, the girls are already regular participants at the Olympics.
Will you be present at the competition in Ljubno?
I like to visit Ljubno even when there are no competitions there. The people of Ljubno have turned the event into a small "Planica", sharing the name of their town with the rest of the world. Surely, I will be standing by the landing strip, cheering for our girls.
Will you be present at the Olympics, as well?
Yes, as head of delegation in South Korea, I will be making sure our female and male athletes are provided with all the conditions for achieving top results.
Which rivals should our girls watch out for the most, both in Ljubno and at the Olympics?
In my opinion, they do not have to fear anyone. They merely need to believe in their own abilities and that they will defeat every rival with hard work.