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First Winter Olympic Games Medal for Bulgaria – 1980

The Bulgarian skiers’ first participation in Winter Olympic Games happened in 1936 in Garmisch Partenkirchen, Germany. It was in 1956 when Bulgarian skier ranked in the top 20 for the first time – Georgi Dimitrov in Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy, in the slalom. Later, in two Winter Olympics in a row – in Lake Placid, USA (1980) and Sarajevo, Yugoslavia (1984) Pavel Popangelov finished at the prestigious 6th place in the slalom. The first medal for Bulgaria from Winter Olympic Games was won by Ivan Lebanov in Lake Placid on February 13, 1980. He ranked third in the 30-km ski run. In Nagano, Japan (1998), the Bulgarian team triumphed with the Olympic gold of Ekaterina Dafovska and the fourth place of Pavlina Filipova, both in biathlon. The Olympic Games in Salt Lake City, USA (2002) brought the record in medals won – the silver and the bronze for Evgenia Radanova (short track skating), and the bronze for Irina Nikulchina (biathlon).

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