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Janica Kostelic


Ante Kostelic, who, with his wife Marica, had been a top national handball player in the former Yugoslavia, established a demanding skiing regimen for his children when they were small. If others trained four hours a day, Janica and brother Ivica worked eight. If a typical practice consisted of skiing through 400 gates, Janica skied through 1,200. When war ripped their country in the early 1990s, the Kostelics fled their home in Zagreb and sought out training sites in Central and Eastern Europe. They had little money. When Janica and Ivica began skiing competitively, the family drove from race to race, camping in tents along the way. When the weather turned cold, they slept in the car. They often ate sandwiches for every meal. Once, they took shelter in a cave for a week because they feared air strikes. "For 10 to 12 years we never stopped," Ante Kostelic told the New York Times. "Maybe we did not know better. We did what we thought was right."

Janica entered twenty-two junior races during the 1996-97 season. She won them all. "Despite that impressive record," Time International reported, "in her first World Cup season, 1998-99, her third place in a slalom event at Park City, Utah, took officials by surprise. They couldn't find a Croatian flag for the award ceremony and Janica had to dig one out of her ski bag."


1982 Born January 5 in Zagreb, Croatia
1985 Begins skiing at age 3
1996 Wins all 22 junior races she enters during the 1996-97 season and clinches junior titles in slalom and giant slalom
1998 Wins bronze medal in the super-G and silver in the combined event at the World Junior Championship in France
1998 Attracts attention with third-place finish in a slalom event at Park City, Utah, during her first World Cup season, 1998-99
1998 Finishes eighth in the combined events at the Winter Olympics in Nagano, Japan; also finishes 24th in the giant slalom, 25th in the downhill, 26th in the super-G, and fails to finish the slalom
1999 Captures her first World Cup victory, in the combined event, in St. Anton, Austria
1999 Turns in disappointing performance at the World Championships in Vail, finishing seventh in the combined, 22nd in the super-G, 23rd in the slalom, 29th in the downhill and failing to finish the giant slalom
1999 Tears four ligaments in her right knee during training and misses most of the World Cup season
2001 Becomes overall Women's World Cup Alpine Champion on the strength of eight consecutive slalom wins and several giant slalom and super-G victories during 2000-01 season
2001 Finishes fifth in the slalom event at the 2001 World Championships
2002 Wins gold medals in combined, slalom, and giant slalom and silver medal in super-G at the 2002 Winter Olympic Games in Salt Lake City, Utah

Additional topics

Famous Sports StarsSkiingJanica Kostelic Biography - Relentless, Chronology, Ups And Downs, Olympic Uncertainty, Three To Go, Awards And Accomplishments - CONTACT INFORMATION