Janica Kostelic travelled with her family as she competed on the junior ski circuit in Europe, Not having enough money to stay in hotels, they slept in tents and in their car.
Aged just 16, Kostelic competed in the 1998 Nagano Winter Games. But her real breakthrough took place in 2001 when she won the overall World Cup title. Back home in Zagreb, she was presented with a bouquet of 1,256 roses – the number of points she earned that season. She also became the first athlete to appear on a Croatian postage stamp!
At the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Games, Kostelic performed brilliantly. Firstly, she won the combined event convincingly by almost 1.5 seconds. Next, in a very close contest, she finished with silver in the super-G. Three days later, she won the slalom. Finally, she led both runs of the giant slalom to earn her third gold medal and her fourth medal in total.
At the 2006 Turin Winter Games, Kostelic didn't disappoint her expectant fans. She successfully defended her Alpine combined title and took another silver in the super G. With four golds and two silvers, she holds the record for medals obtained by a woman in Alpine skiing.