Janica Kostelić

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
Alpine skier
Janica Kostelić in Maribor, January 2001
DisciplinesSlalom, giant slalom, super-G, downhill, combined
Born (1982-01-05) 5 January 1982 (age 38)
Zagreb, SFR Yugoslavia
Height1.75 m (5 ft 9 in)
World Cup debut23 January 1998 (age 16)
RetiredApril 2007 (age 25)
Teams3 – (19982006)
Medals6 (4 gold)
World Championships
Teams4 – (19992005)
Medals5 (5 gold)
World Cup
Seasons8 – (19982003, 2005-2006)
Overall titles3 – (2001, 2003, 2006)
Discipline titles7 – (3 SL, 4 K)

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 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.[1][2][3] Following a year away from competition, Kostelić announced her retirement from racing in April 2007, at just 25 years old.[4]

Since 2016, Kostelić has been the State Secretary for Science, Education and Sports in the Croatian Government.


Early yearsEdit

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.

Later careerEdit

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.[5][6][7] 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.[8] 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.[7][8]

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.

World CupEdit

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

Season titlesEdit

Season Discipline
2001 Overall
2003 Overall
2005 Combined
2006 Overall

Season standingsEdit

Season Age Overall Slalom Giant
Super-G Downhill Combined
1999 17 11 11 10 26 49 2
2000 18 22 10 28 28 39
2001 19 1 1 9 18 50 1
2002 20 14 11 25 19 41 4
2003 21 1 1 3 7 11 1
2004 22 injured, out for season
2005 23 2 2 11 7 4 1
2006 24 1 1 3 5 4 1

Race victoriesEdit

  • 30 wins – (1 DH, 1 SG, 2 GS, 20 SL, 6 K)[9]
Season Date Location Discipline
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

  Year    Age   Slalom   Giant 
Super-G Downhill Combined
1999 17 23 DNF1 22 29 7
2001 19 5 DNS1 13
2003 21 1 13 19 1
2005 23 1 DNS1 1 1

Olympic resultsEdit

  Year    Age   Slalom   Giant 
Super-G Downhill Combined
1998 16 DNF1 24 26 25 8
2002 20 1 1 2 1
2006 24 4 DNS1 2 DNS 1

Personal lifeEdit

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.[10]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Ski Racing.com – Janica Kostelic may take winter off to regroup from injuries – 16 August 2006.
  2. ^ Ski Racing.com – Kostelic to sit out 2006–07 season – 6 October 2006.
  3. ^ Ski Racing.com – Kostelic fails to find the hunger to race again – 22 April 2007.
  4. ^ fisalpine.com – Janica Kostelic – accessed 19 March 2012.
  5. ^ "Kostelic expected out for season". Lakeland (FL) Ledger. wire reports. 4 January 2004. p. C3.
  6. ^ "Kostelic to have surgery". Spokesman-Review. wire reports. 20 January 2004. p. C2.
  7. ^ a b Bulman, Erica (12 February 2005). "Kostelic claims third gold". The Free Lance-Star. Fredericksburg, VA. Associated Press. p. C9.
  8. ^ a b Bulman, Erica (7 February 2005). "Croatian skis to downhill win". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Associated Press. p. D11.
  9. ^ Biography fis-ski.com
  10. ^ Smilović, Ivana. "Janica Kostelic shares a first photo with her son Oskar - The Dubrovnik Times". www.thedubrovniktimes.com. Retrieved 28 November 2019.

External linksEdit

Winter Olympics
Preceded by
Vedran Pavlek
Flagbearer for Croatia
Nagano 1998
Salt Lake City 2002
Turin 2006
Succeeded by
Jakov Fak