A lavish ceremony with a cast of 2000 marked the February 9 opening of the XXIII Winter Olympic Games in Pyeongchang, with a Bulgarian team of 21 athletes set to compete in various events.
Should a Bulgarian make it to the medals podium in the Olympic Stadium in 2018, it would be the first time since three Winter Games ago, when Evgenia Radanova won silver in the 500m short-track speed skating event in Turin in 2006.
Bulgaria’s Winter Olympics teams returned from Sochi in 2014 and Vancouver in 2010 empty-handed.
In the more than a century succession of Winter Olympic games in which Bulgaria has competed, the country only once has won gold, 20 years ago, when Ekaterina Dafovska took first place in the 15km biathlon in Nagano in Japan.
The opening ceremony was broadcast live by Bulgarian National Television, enabling audiences in the country to join those in about 200 others also watching the ceremony.
At the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, Bulgaria’s team has three competing in alpine skiing, 10 in biathlon, three in cross-country, one in luge, one in ski jumping and three in snowboard.
On February 2, Bulgaria’s Minister of Sport, Krassen Kralev, announced the awards to be given to medal-winners and those ranking up to eighth place.
By order of the minister, a Bulgarian winning gold will get a bonus of 250 000 leva (about 127 822 euro), silver 200 000 leva, bronze 150 000 leva, while an athlete placing fourth will get 40 000 leva, fifth 30 000 leva, sixth 20 000 leva, seventh 15 000 leva and eighth, 10 000 leva.