Inspired Kostelić repeats Alpine skiing success
While there are some athletes who are overwhelmed by the pressure of the Olympic Games, there are others who are inspired and pushed to wonderful feats. Some truly fantastic sportsman and women have ended their careers with no Olympic medal to show for their efforts.
Others, though, find their best form when they seen the famous rings. In Salt Lake City, Janica Kostelić had won three gold medals, a feat that no Alpine skier had ever surpassed. In Turin, half an hour after Kjetil Andre Aamodt became the first Alpine skier to win four gold medals, Kostelić became the first female skier to secure that same record.
Kostelić retained the combined title that she had won in the United States. Following that triumph, she had won the world championship in both 2003 and 2005, so she was clearly the woman to beat in Turin. And there was another omen on her side – thanks to the weather.
In the Olympic combined, the normal pattern is to have the downhill first, and then the slalom. In Salt Lake City, high winds at the downhill course had forced the events to be reversed, with slalom going first. Four years later and there were high winds again – and once more, it resulted in the slalom going ahead of the downhill. Having coped with the disruption to the schedule so well in Salt Lake, Kostelić was little phased in Turin.
She was second quickest in the slalom behind Marlies Schild, something of a slalom specialist, who recorded both of the fastest runs. Kostelić went quickest in the downhill, though, to win by half a second and take that place in history,
She added a silver medal in the super-G to take her overall Olympic record to four golds and two silvers. Just for good measure, her brother Ivica then won a silver in the men's combined.