Janica Kostelić (Croatian pronunciation: [janitsa kǒstelitɕ];[vowel length and tone?] born 5 January 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. Kostelic's accomplishments in professional skiing have led some commentators, writers, and fellow ski racers to regard her as the greatest female ski racer of all time.
Janica Kostelić in Maribor, January 2001
|Disciplines||Slalom, giant slalom, super-G, downhill, combined|
|Born||5 January 1982|
Zagreb, SFR Yugoslavia
|Height||1.75 m (5 ft 9 in)|
|World Cup debut||23 January 1998 (age 16)|
|Retired||April 2007 (age 25)|
|Teams||3 – (1998–2006)|
|Medals||6 (4 gold)|
|Teams||4 – (1999–2005)|
|Medals||5 (5 gold)|
|Seasons||8 – (1998–2003, 2005-2006)|
|Overall titles||3 – (2001, 2003, 2006)|
|Discipline titles||7 – (3 SL, 4 K)|
Kostelić was the World Cup overall champion in 2001, 2003 and 2006. On 15 January 2006, Kostelić became 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 5 February 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. Following a year away from competition, Kostelić announced her retirement from racing in April 2007, at just 25 years old.
Since 2016, Kostelić has been the State Secretary for Science, Education and Sports in the Croatian Government.
Born in Zagreb, Croatia, then part of Yugoslavia, into a winter sports family, Kostelić's father Ante was also her trainer. Her older brother Ivica is a ski racer in his own right, the 2011 overall World Cup champion. She started skiing at the age of three and began training at nine years old, and 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 OlympicsEdit
At the 2002 Winter Olympics she won three gold medals and a silver, 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.
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 two-run 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, a substantial 1.32 seconds ahead of silver medalist Anja Pärson.
Kostelić won the World Cup overall title again in 2003, but missed the following season due to knee surgery in October, her fourth in ten months, and thyroid surgery in January 2004. This caused 2004 to be the only year from 1998 to 2006 that she was not recognized as "Croatian Sportswoman of the Year."
After more than 18 months aways from competition, she returned to World Cup competition at Sölden and finished eighth in the giant slalom in October 2004. At the World Championships in February 2005, she won three gold medals, despite being in ill health. She won the downhill and successfully defended her world titles in slalom and combined.
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 18 February 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 19 April 2007, citing persistent pain from her injuries.
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 women's World Cup history. (In 2011, Maria Riesch beat Lindsey Vonn in the overall world cup by a margin of three points as well.)
Kostelić 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, 2006), 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.
World Cup resultsEdit
|2004||22||injured, out for season|
- 30 wins – (1 DH, 1 SG, 2 GS, 20 SL, 6 K)
|1999||17 Jan 1999||St. Anton, Austria||Combined|
|2000||5 Dec 1999||Serre-Chevalier, France||Slalom|
|12 Dec 1999||Sestriere, Italy||Slalom|
|2001||18 Nov 2000||Park City, US||Slalom|
|26 Nov 2000||Aspen, USA||Slalom|
|10 Dec 2000||Sestriere, Italy||Slalom|
|20 Dec 2000||Slalom|
|29 Dec 2000||Semmering, Austria||Slalom|
|14 Jan 2001||Flachau, Austria||Slalom|
|26 Jan 2001||Ofterschwang, Germany||Slalom|
|18 Feb 2001||Garmisch, Germany||Slalom|
|2002||10 Mar 2002||Altenmarkt, Austria||Slalom|
|2003||23 Nov 2002||Park City, USA||Slalom|
|22 Dec 2002||Lenzerheide, Switzerland||Slalom|
|29 Dec 2002||Semmering, Austria||Slalom|
|5 Jan 2003||Bormio, Italy||Slalom|
|13 Mar 2003||Åre, Sweden||Slalom|
|2005||27 Nov 2004||Aspen, USA||Slalom|
|27 Feb 2005||San Sicario, Italy||Combined|
|2006||21 Dec 2005||Špindlerův Mlýn, Czech Rep.||Giant slalom|
|14 Jan 2006||Bad Kleinkirchheim, Austria||Downhill|
|15 Jan 2006||Super-G|
|22 Jan 2006||St. Moritz, Switzerland||Combined|
|5 Feb 2006||Ofterschwang, Austria||Slalom|
|4 Mar 2006||Hafjell, Norway||Combined|
|10 Mar 2006||Levi, Finland||Slalom|
|17 Mar 2006||Åre, Sweden||Slalom|
|18 Mar 2006||Giant slalom|
World Championship resultsEdit
On 1 January 2019 the Croatian skier gave birth to her first child. She shared a first photo with her baby boy on her Twitter account.
- Ski Racing.com – Janica Kostelic may take winter off to regroup from injuries – 16 August 2006.
- Ski Racing.com – Kostelic to sit out 2006–07 season – 6 October 2006.
- Ski Racing.com – Kostelic fails to find the hunger to race again – 22 April 2007.
- fisalpine.com – Janica Kostelic – accessed 19 March 2012.
- "Kostelic expected out for season". Lakeland (FL) Ledger. wire reports. 4 January 2004. p. C3.
- "Kostelic to have surgery". Spokesman-Review. wire reports. 20 January 2004. p. C2.
- Bulman, Erica (12 February 2005). "Kostelic claims third gold". The Free Lance-Star. Fredericksburg, VA. Associated Press. p. C9.
- Bulman, Erica (7 February 2005). "Croatian skis to downhill win". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Associated Press. p. D11.
- Biography fis-ski.com
- Smilović, Ivana. "Janica Kostelic shares a first photo with her son Oskar - The Dubrovnik Times". www.thedubrovniktimes.com. Retrieved 28 November 2019.
- Official website
- Janica Kostelić at the International Ski Federation
- Janica Kostelić World Cup standings at the International Ski Federation
- Janica Kostelić at Ski-DB Alpine Ski Database
- Janica Kostelić at Olympics at Sports-Reference.com (archived)
- Janica Kostelić – official site at Olympic.org
| Flagbearer for Croatia
Salt Lake City 2002