Numerous heroes have graced Slovenian sports, and their successes, thanks to the Slovenian Sports Journalists’ Association, will not be forgotten. The Association is in charge of the Sporting Heroes Hall of Fame, to which athletes who in their time made their mark not just on Slovenian sport, but on world sport, are elected. Currently there are 59 sporting heroes in the Hall, who are selected by the members of the Association – sports journalists. The Hall is unique in world terms, as it is the only one to feature athletes from all sporting disciplines.
The Sporting Heroes Hall of Fame is located at the Stožice Sports Centre in Ljubljana, and the first athletes to be elected to it were gymnasts Leon Štukelj and Miroslav Cerar, Slovenia’s finest athletes of the twentieth century. They were followed by legendary Slovenian names from all sporting disciplines. "These are exceptional people, who paved the way for the sporting generations to come. They are an inexhaustible source of inspiration, pride and determination, which calls out to the nation and holds a permanent place in the national memory," says Jože Zidar, president of the Slovenian Sports Journalists’ Association.
"Our goal, in addition to the Hall, is to establish a working museum of sport, which will house equipment and other sports memorabilia associated with Slovenian athletes. Our initiative is just a small contribution to preserving history of Slovenian sport. We can be proud of Slovenian sport and its importance in bringing people together," adds Zidar. They also want to put historical events in sports journalism on public display, in the form of articles and reports by current and former sports journalists and others.
Current members of the Sporting Heroes Hall of Fame
2011: Leon Štukelj (gymnastics), Miroslav Cerar (gymnastics)
2012: Rudolf Cvetko (fencing), Josip Primožič Tošo (gymnastics), Stane Derganc (gymnastics), Stanko Lorger (athletics), Ivo Daneu (basketball), Jože Šlibar (ski jumping), Janez Polda (ski jumping), Draga Stamejčič Pokovec (athletics), Janez Žirovnik (cycling), Nataša Urbančič Bezjak (athletics), Branko Oblak (football), Aljoša Žorga (basketball), Vinko Jelovac (basketball), Mima Jaušovec (tennis), the rowing eight (4th at the Tokyo Olympics in 1964), Rudi Hiti (hockey), Peter Šumi (gymnastics), Miro Steržaj (bowling), Albin Felc (hockey).
2013: Franc Smolej (cross-country skiing), Ciril Praček (alpine skiing), Branko Ziherl (diving), Tone Cerer (swimming), Tine Mulej (alpine skiing), Janko Štefe (alpine skiing), Ivan Toplak (football), Janko Kosmina-Mario Fafangel (sailing), Tine Šrot (gymnastics), Jurij Uršič (cycling), Edvard Vecko (table tennis), Ištvan Korpa (table tennis), Tone Gale (hockey), Milan Zadel (kayaking), Stanko Topolčnik (judo), Bojan Križaj (alpine skiing), Peter Vilfan (basketball), Bojan Ropret (cycling), Boris Strel (alpine skiing), Alenka Cuderman (handball), Borut Petrič (swimming), Miran Tepeš (ski jumping), Jure Franko (alpine skiing), Primož Ulaga (ski jumping), Andrej Jelenc (whitewater kayaking), Darjan Petrič (swimming), Matjaž Debelak (ski jumping), Mateja Svet (alpine skiing).
2015: Srečko Katanec (football), Jure Zdovc (basketball), Rok Petrovič (alpine skiing).