Janica Kostelić

Janica Kostelić

Janica Kostelić [IPA|ˈjanitsa ˈkɔstɛlitɕ] (born January 5, 1982) is a retired Alpine skier from Croatia, considered one of the greatest female skiers of all time. She is the only woman to win four gold medals in alpine skiing at the Winter Olympic Games (in 2002 and 2006), and the only woman to win three alpine skiing Olympic gold medals in one year (2002). She was World Cup champion in 2001, 2003 and 2006. On January 15 2006 Kostelić became only the third woman in World Cup history (after Swede Pernilla Wiberg and Austrian Petra Kronberger) to win World Cup races in all of the sport's five disciplines. On February 5 2006 Janica became the second female skier (after Petra Kronberger) to win all five disciplines in one season. She also holds the record for the highest number of points in one season. She is 1.75 m tall and weighs 66 kg.

Early life

Kostelić was born in Zagreb to a winter sport family: her father Ante is also her trainer and her older brother Ivica Kostelić is a renowned skier in his own right. She first started skiing at the age of three and began training at nine years old. She quickly became successful and won several junior competitions.

At the age of 16, Kostelić was selected for the Croatian team for the 1998 Winter Olympic Games in Nagano. Her best result was 8th place in the combined. She competed in all five disciplines. She won her first World Cup slalom in December 1999. Kostelić then suffered knee ligament damage which kept her out of competition until late 2000. She won the Alpine Skiing World Cup that season with eight further victories.

2002 Winter Olympics

In the 2002 Winter Olympics she won three gold medals and a silver in alpine skiing disciplines, the first Winter Olympic medals ever for an athlete from Croatia. No other female Alpine skier has ever won four medals or three gold medals at one Olympics.

Kostelić chose not to compete in the Downhill and concentrated on the Combined. She performed well in the downhill run and then won the gold medal after the slalom. She then won a silver medal in the Super-G, just behind Daniela Ceccarelli. The next race was the Slalom, in which Kostelić won her second gold medal, narrowly beating Laure Péquegnot. Her final victory was in the Giant Slalom, finishing 1.32s ahead of Anja Pärson.These achievements instantly made Kostelić a national hero in Croatia.

Later career

In 2003 she won the World Cup again. In early 2004 she was again taken away from the skiing fields by a knee injury.

In season 2005/06, Janica won World Cup for the third time, but also was in Top 5 in all 4 disciplines, including number 1 in slalom.

She has won altogether 30 races in the World Cup (as of March 18, 2006).

At the 2006 Winter Olympic Games in Turin she won a gold medal in women's alpine combined. That was her fourth Olympic gold medal, making her the most successful female skier in the history of the Olympic Games. This record was set on February 18 2006, only half an hour after Norway's Kjetil André Aamodt, winner of the men's super-G, became the first Alpine skier in men's competition to win four Olympic gold medals. Due to several injuries she has not participated in the 2007 Alpine Skiing World Cup. Not unexpectedly, she announced her retirement on April 19th, 2007, citing persistent pain from injuries. She has not confirmed whether she will eventually make a comeback.

Kostelić was awarded Laureus World Sportswoman of 2006.

World Cup victories

She won 3 overall world cup victories, 2001, 2003 and 2006. In 2005 she was second with 3 points behind winner Anja Pärson - the smallest difference between 1st and 2nd place in history.

She won a total of 30 races: 20 in Slalom, 6 in Combined, 2 in Giant Slalom, 1 in Super-G, and 1 in Downhill

Overall and single discipline results

Individual victories

ee also

*List of multiple Olympic gold medalists

External links

* [http://www.janica.croski.hr/ Janica Kostelić official web site]
* [http://www.olympic.org/uk/athletes/heroes/bio_uk.asp?PAR_I_ID=96483 "The Snow Queen of Croatia" by IOC]
* [http://www.ski-db.com/db/profiles/wkstja.asp Ski World Cup statistics for Janica]

NAME=Kostelić, Janica
DATE OF BIRTH=January 5, 1982

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