Slovakia is a recently independent republic, bordered by Poland, Hungary, Austria, the Czech Republic and Ukraine. After World War I, the Slovaks disassociated themselves from Hungary and joined Czechs from Bohemia to form Czechoslovakia in 1918. Germany invaded Czechoslovakia in 1939 and declared Slovakia independent, but the two were rejoined in 1945.
Czechoslovakia split into the Czech Republic and Slovakia on Jan. 1, 1993. Unlike those of other nations, the split was peaceful.
Slovakia has appeared as an independent nation in the last four Olympic Winter Games. Radoslav Zidek won the nation's first medal with a silver in the inaugural men's snowboard cross event in Torino.
On Day 2 of the Vancouver Games, biathlete Anastasiya Kuzmina won Slovakia's first gold medal at the Winter Olympics in the women's 7.5km sprint. The men's hockey team is led by NHL superstar Marian Hossa, but are considered a longshot for a medal.