Janica Kostelić

Janica Kostelić bigraphy, stories - Croatian skier

Janica Kostelić : biography

January 5, 1982 –

Janica Kostelić ( born January 5, 1982) is a former World Cup alpine ski racer and four-time Olympic gold medalist from Croatia. In addition to the Olympics, she won five gold medals at the World Championships. In World Cup competition, she won thirty individual races, three overall titles, three slalom titles, and four (unofficial) combined titles.

Kostelić is the only woman to win four gold medals in alpine skiing at the Winter Olympics (in 2002 and 2006), and the only woman to win three alpine skiing gold medals in one Olympics (2002).

Kostelić was the World Cup overall 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 Kostelić became the second female skier (after Petra Kronberger) to win all five disciplines in one season.

In the summer of 2006, she decided to not compete in the 2007 season, due to chronic knee and back pain. She had endured ten knee surgeries and thyroid surgery during her career. – Janica Kostelic may take winter off to regroup from injuries – 2006-08-16 – Kostelic to sit out 2006–07 season – 2006-10-06 – Kostelic fails to fine the hunger to race again – 2007-04-22 Following a year away from competition, Kostelić announced her retirement from racing in April 2007. – Janica Kostelic – accessed 2012-03-19

Later career

In 2003 she won the World Cup overall title again. In early 2004 she was again taken away from the skiing fields by a knee injury. The injury caused 2004 to be the only year from 1998 to 2006 that she was not recognized as "Croatian Sportswoman of the Year."

In the 2006 season, Kostelić won the World Cup overall title for the third time, but also was in Top 5 in all 4 disciplines, including number 1 in slalom. She won her first World Cup races in giant slalom (2), Super-G, and downhill in 2006.

At the 2006 Winter Olympics in Torino 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.

She also became the first Alpine skier to win the "Sportswoman of the Year" award at the Laureus World Sports Awards in 2006, in part for her accomplishment of winning races in each discipline during the year.

Due to recurring injuries, Kostelić has not competed since the conclusion of the 2006 season. As expected, she announced her retirement a year later on April 19, 2007, citing persistent pain from her injuries. She has not confirmed whether she will attempt a comeback.

Early years

Kostelić was born in Zagreb, Croatia (then Yugoslavia), into a winter sports family: her father Ante is also her trainer and her older brother Ivica Kostelić is a renowned ski racer in his own right, the 2011 overall World Cup champion. 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 Olympics 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 World Cup overall title that 2001 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 racer has ever won four medals or three gold medals at a single Olympics.