Slovene dreams: Vasilij Zbogar
Vasilij Zbogar has sailed against the best: Robert Scheidt, Ben Ainslie, Paul Goodison and most recently Giles Scott. Asked who he rates the highest, the smiling Slovenian paused before choosing Scott. “He is strong mentally and physically, he makes few mistakes,” says Zbogar, the only Slovenian to win medals in Olympic sailing.
Following Silver and Bronze in the Laser in 2004 and 2008, Zbogar bulked up to be competitive for the Finn. Having missed out in 2012, his Rio Silver was an almost perfect swansong to a career that has spanned five
Games. Perhaps if he had come from a wealthier nation, he could have been one of the all-time greats. That’s not something Zbogar allows himself to dwell on. “Everything I have learned is through trial and error,” he says. “I think maybe if I had grown up in one of the bigger nations, the difference would have been that I would have had my success sooner, because I would have learned the best way of doing things sooner.
“I didn’t start having major international success until my early thirties, and maybe in a different system I could have had that knowledge ten years earlier.”
Now, having retired from Olympic competition, he wants to pass on his hard-earned knowledge to the next generation of Slovenian sailors.