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At the 1960 Olympics in Rome, Radin competed as a rower in the coxed four discipline. Just four years later, at the 1964 games in Innsbruck, he was a member of the Yugoslav national hockey team. Foto: EPA

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The Renaissance Athlete

Slovenia Revealed
8. March 2018 ob 06:12
Ljubljana - MMC RTV SLO

In a country where achievements in sports are a major source of pride, Olympic athletes are often among the most visible celebrities. But in the history of Slovenian performances at the Olympics, Igor Radin stands apart not because of his celebrity – he was an unassuming, private man – but because of his unusual feat: He competed in both the summer and the winter games, becoming one of only a select group of “double Olympians” – approximately 130 -- in the history of world sport.

At the 1960 Olympics in Rome, Radin competed as a rower in the coxed four discipline. Just four years later, at the 1964 games in Innsbruck, he was a member of the Yugoslav national hockey team.

Radin was born in 1938 and grew up in Ljubljana. He was a sickly child and turned to sports to improve his physical condition. Rowing was his first love and he soon excelled in the sport. He also began to play hockey at a local open-air ice rink, and was eventually good enough to join Ljubljana’s Olimpija hockey team – an impressive achievement, even though Olimpija was, at a time, routinely beaten by its rival from Jesenice.

Despite the vast differences between the two sports, Radin was devoted to both – and his commitment paid off when he qualified for both the Yugoslav national rowing and hockey teams.

He failed to win a medal at the 1960 summer games in Rome, but was nevertheless honored to represent Yugoslavia’s colors at the first televised Olympic Games in history.

Four years later, the performance of his hockey team included a 14:1 loss against Canada, and the team was never a contender for a medal; it ultimately placed 14th. Still, Radin left Innsbruck as one of only a few athletes in Olympics history – and the only from Slovenia – with performances at both the summer and the winter games to his credit.

In an era of increasingly professionalized sports, it is almost unheard-of for athletes to compete in both the summer and the winter Olympics. Even though he never won a medal and tended to avoid the media spotlight, Radin – who died in 2014 – is nevertheless an Olympic legend, remembered for his passion, dedication, and success in two very different sporting pursuits.

Jaka Bartolj
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