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subota, 1. siječnja 2011.

Janica Kostelić

Janica Kostelić (born January 5, 1982, in Zagreb, Croatia) is a retired Croatian champion alpine ski racer. She 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 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 5'9" (1.75 m) tall and weighs 145 lb. (66 kg).

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 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 a single 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 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, Janica 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. Not unexpectedly, 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.

She won 3 overall World Cup titles: 2001, 2003, and 2006. In 2005 she was second overall, just three points behind winner Anja Pärson - the smallest difference between 1st and 2nd place in World Cup history.

Kostelic also won the slalom season title three times, the same years that she won the overall titles. She also would have won the season trophy for the combined discipline four times (2001, 2003, 2005-06), but the discipline trophy for the combined was not awarded to women during her career, being added only in 2007.

She won a total of 30 World Cup races, including at least one in every discipline: 20 in Slalom, 6 in Combined, 2 in Giant Slalom, 1 in Super-G, and 1 in Downhill.

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