Janica Kostelic wins third world championship goldTweet
Janica Kostelic wins third world championship goldJanica Kostelic from Croatia overcame illness, two difficult courses and two of her toughest rivals to win her third title of these Championships, this time in slalom. Kostelic came from third after the first run to post a winning time of 1.47.98 to overtake Tanja Poutiainen of Finland. Sweden’s Anja Paerson, second after the first leg, made an uncustomary mistake, allowing Sarka Zahrobska from the Czech Republic to win the bronze, an unexpected present on her birthday.
‘It’s something really incredible’ said a tired looking Kostelic at the post-race winner’s conference. ‘I was able to win two gold medals in the last Championships, and now I have been able to raise that to three. I could really not ask for more.’
Both courses offered exceptional challenges despite the moderate terrain and hard snow, which softened under the warming temperatures. The first run, described by U.S. Team member, Julia Mancuso as, ‘wide open and fast’ took out eight of the best 15 racers in the world.
Poutiainen explained the problem. ‘Yah, I mean it’s a fast course. There is good speed going into tight combinations and you have more speed than you can handle.’
Running number seven, Poutiainen heard the course reports and was able to make the necessary tactical changes. ‘Yah, I heard about the problems I adjusted my line a little bit.’ Poutiainen, winner of this year’s World Cup slalom title, put down the fastest first run over Paerson and Kostelic, while Zahrobska lurked in fourth.
Like so many other athletes at these Championships, Kostelic had been sick the previous few days and had even missed her start in the giant slalom event. To make matters worse, her father and coach Ante Kostelic had set a long and difficult second run course. ‘Yes I think it was very hard the way he set the course’ said Janica. ‘Very interesting, but very hard. We don’t have 69 gates, usually.’
The second run proved as challenging as the racers had anticipated with many having trouble with the rhythm changes on the top part of the course. Nicole Hosp from Austria, fifth after the first run, skied out on the top of the course, and most notably Paerson, winner of the giant slalom and super G, bobbled and then caught a tip.
Kostelic described her strategy for the second run. ‘Today before the second run, I was just trying to cheer myself up all the time’ she said. ‘For the second run I just wanted to do a good top part, because I knew I wouldn’t have any energy at the bottom. So I gave it everything I had.’
Kostelic made a series of mistakes at the top, followed by energy consuming, acrobatic recoveries. By the time she reached the finish, she had taken the lead, but was doubled over gasping for air. She collapsed in the snow, writhing for several minutes trying to get her breath, never seeing Paerson fail to finish, or Poutiainen run into trouble and finish behind her.
The ever smiling Poutiainen was not disappointed with her second silver medal of the Championships. ‘I think I really won the silver medal today, rather than losing the gold one’ said Poutiainen. ‘It was really not easy; I was glad to make it to the finish.
Also glad to make it to the finish and earn the first ever medal for the Czech Republic was the 19-year-old Zahrobska. ‘I was so glad when I was in finish leading and the medal was for me’ said Zahrobska.
She explained her journey to the podium of a World Championship slalom race in clear but halting English. ‘My coach is my father; my father never was skiing; he learned from books’ said Zahrobska. Despite her background she has established herself as one of the best in the world with three top 10 World Cup results in slalom and a bronze medal in slalom at last year’s World Junior Championships.
The U.S. women didn’t finish in the medals, but put together a solid team performance. The top ranked skier for the U.S. Kristina Koznick skied out three gates from the finish of the first run, but the remainder of the team completed two hard-charging runs to land in sixth, seventh and eighth, separated by only three-hundredths of a second.
Resi Stiegler led the trio after a strong second run moved her from 18th to sixth, while Sarah Schleper and Julia Mancuso followed in the next two places. Mancuso, who had four top-10 results to her credit including two bronze medals during these Championships, said, ‘I’m pretty pleased. This is my best result of the season.’
Bill Marolt, CEO or USSA was proud of their accomplishments, despite not adding to the team’s medal count. ‘The girls gave it 100% on that second run’ Marolt said. ‘They can look at themselves in the mirror and be satisfied regardless of where they placed.’
World Ski Championships
Santa Caterina, Italy
Feb. 11, 2005
1. Janica Kostelic, CRO 1:47.98
2. Tanja Poutiainen, FIN 1:48.16
3. Sarka Zahrobska, CZE 1:48.65
4. Kathrin Zettel, AUT 1:48.82
5. Therese Borssen, SWE 1:49.02
6. Resi Stiegler, USA 1:49.27
7. Sarah Schleper, USA 1:49.29
8. Julia Mancuso, USA 1:49.30
9. Ana Jelusic, CRO 1:49.33
10. Nika Fleiss, CRO 1:49.99
11. Henna Raita, FIN 1:50.54
12. Christel Pascal, FRA 1:50.91
13. Maria Pietilae-Holmner, SWE 1:51.12
14. Nicole Gius, ITA 1:51.19
15. Florine DeLeymarie, FRA 1:51.28
16. Katarzyna Karasinska, POL 1:51.56
17. Vanessa Vidal, FRA 1:52.42
18. Anne Marie Mueller, NOR 1:52.67
19. Mojca Rataj, SLO 1:52.74
20. Petra Zakourilova, CZE 1:53.60
21. Mizue Hoshi, JPN 1:53.61
22. Anna Goodman, CAN 1:53.96
23. Hiromi Yumoto, JPN 1:55.84
24. Kumiko Kashiwagi, JPN 1:56.08
25. Annalisa Ceresa, ITA 1:56.40
26. Macarena Simari Birkner, ARG 1:58.93
27. Yulia Siparenko, UKR 2:04.46
28. Zana Novakovic, AUS 2:08.04
29. Tugba Dasdemir, TUR 2:16.79
30. Vera Eremenko, KAZ 2:19.67
other North Americans:
DSQ 1st: Kristina Koznick, USA.
DNF 2nd: Brigitte Acton, CAN.
By Hank McKee
World Championships Women’s Slalom, Santa Caterina, Feb. 11, 2005 Skier, skis/boots/bindings
1 Kostelic, Salomon/Salomon/Salomon
2 Poutiainen, Volkl/Tecnica/Marker
3 Zahrobska, Head/Head/Tyrolia
4 Zettel, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
5 Borssen, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
6 Stiegler, Dynastar/Lange/Look
7 Schleper, Rossignol/Lange/Rossignol
8 Mancuso, Rossignol/Rossignol/Rossignol
9 Jelusic, Dynamic/Salomon/Atomic
10 Fleiss, Dynamic/Salomon/Salomon
It is the ninth of ten scheduled races for the 2005 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships, and the final women’s race. … It is a winning margin of .18 of a second. … The top four racers are within the same second.
It is the fifth World Championship for Janica Kostelic and the third of this championship (also won combined 2/4 and dh 2/6). … It is her second consecutive slalom crown. … gold is the only color medal she has ever won at a World Championship. … She matches Kjetil Andre Aamodt, and Marielle Goitschl for third all time for Championship gold medals. … Erika Hess had six and Christl Cranz 12. … Kostelic has won just one World Cup this season, the Aspen sl 11/27.
It is the second career World Championship medal for Tanja Poutiainen. … She also won the silver in GS 2/8. … She has now won more medals than any other Finn in alpine World Championship history. … It is her 11th podium of the season.
It is the first World Championship medal for Sarka Zahrobska. … and the first for the Czech Republic. … The best previous championship result for a Czech other than Zahrobska was Ondrej Bank, 6th cmb 2001. … Zahrobska had been 5th in the combined here. … It is her best result of the season.
A strong – if medal free – day for the U.S. … Resi Stiegler sixth is a career best in World class competition. … Seventh is a career best World Champio
nship result for Sarah Schleper. … Eighth gives Julia Mancuso four top 10 finishes for these championships including two bronze medals (sg, gs). … Anna Goodman was the lone finisher for Canada, collecting her second title meet result. … Fourth and fifth place came from back in the seed order. … Kathrin Zettel posted fourth from the 27th start and Therese Borseen fifth from the 21st. … With three medals at this championship Anja Paerson was a second run DNF.
With one race remaining, the Austrians have eight medals (2g,2s,4b); Croatia three (3g); the Czech Republic one (b); Finland two (2s); Italy three (2s,1b); Norway one (s); Sweden three (2g,1s) and the U.S. six (2g,1s,3b).