Janica and Ivica Kostelić - Croatian Athletes and Olympic Ski Champions
Brother - Sister Team
Winter Olympic Wonders
Ivica and Janica Kostelić are two young Croatian athletes from the Republic of Hrvatska (Croatia).
They were just ordinary people who managed to become extraordinary Olympic athletes. Janica, the younger of the brother-sister team, is among the most successful of female Winter Olympic athletes in Winter Olympian history.
Only two other women in history have held this honor: Pernille Wiberg and Petre Kronberger. Of the three female champions, Janica is in second place. Only Ms. Kronberger accumulated more - a record number of points for her participation in the 1970 Olympics.
Janica holds the record as being the only woman to win three gold medals in a single Winter Olympics (in 2002 at Salt Lake City, UTAH, USA). In addition to Olympic gold, she won five gold medals at the World Championships.
This is their fairy tale like story.
Skiing is Her Passion
Sister, then Brother
Snow Queen in the Making
Although Janice is younger, she started her athletic ascent to the gold earlier. At age three she began on skis, and her mother claims she was a natural disaster on them. With time, however, it was clear that she had athletic talent and by her early teens, she was a force to be contended with. A young teenaged superstar, father Ante began training her although he had at first only concentrated on his son's athletic future.
With her father Ante Kostelic as her trainer, she started young enough to be on the fast track and stay there. Her nickname is "Snow Queen" taken from the Hans Christian Andersen novel of the same name. Since 2005, the annual winter Ski Competition every January was re-named after her, the Snow Queen Alpine Skiing World Cup. It is held at the top of Medvednica mountain (little grizzly bear) at Sljeme, just north of the Croatian capital of Zagreb.
Sljeme is for Skiing - not just Competition
- Sljeme - Medvednica - Naslovnica
Sljeme (sl-yaim) is a great place to ski in Croatia, not far from the capital of Zagreb. Known for its Snow Queen Skiing Competition each January, it is also a popular summer destination with greenery and easy hiking for groups and families.
Croatian Sportswoman of the Year 1998-2006 (except 2004)
Janica was consistently named "Croatian Sportswoman of the Year" every single year between 1998-2006, except for 2004 when she did not compete.
In addition to being a competent and excellent sportswoman, she is known for her sportsmanship, team spirit and positive attitude. She loves her fans and they adore her.
Janica endured 10 knee operations and one thyroid operation. In 2007, after nearly 10 years of international competition, she announced her retirement from sport.
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Ivica Finds His Way to the Silver - Johnny Be Good!
Riddled by injuries and a late start in the athletic world no one ever completely expected him to follow in Janica's footsteps.
Ivica (which means "Johnny" in Croatian) had to deal with playing second fiddle to Janica's first string violin. A gracious champion, she even polished her nails with each letter of Ivica's name, trying to call attention to her brother's talent and take the crushing spotlight off her own rising star.
His first big breakthrough came in 2001-2002 season. In November 2001, Ivica competed at Aspen, Colorado. Ranked on the roster as #63 most talented in the Grand Slalom, he shocked everyone, skyrocketing out of nowhere to actually win the event! His times were phenomenally faster than the competition, and that was only the beginning. Later that season he won two other Slaloms and ended up on the platform (among the top three) several times. Dominating in the Slaloms, he knocked Bode Miller out of the competition, and for the first time ever, managed to complete the season without injuries.
Shift to All Event Skier
In 2006 and beyond, Ivica began to diversify. Beginning to compete as an All Event Skier, he didn't make headlines in the beginning, but he continued. In two years' time in 2008, he became among a group of elite skiers who competed in every event. Continually scoring points in all disciplines, he received several second places and continued to "get experience." Continued success followed by World Cup wins in the Slalom, and two silvers at the Olympic Games at Whistler in 2010 - one for the Slalom and one for Combined. His career was beginning to take shape.
His career reached a new high point when he won the impossible goal - the Overall World Cup Title (not just the Slalom) in January 2011.
Ivica's musical side - chip off the old block!
Father Ante Kostelic, the force behind the legends
From Player, to Trainer to Snow Ski Super-Coach
The Apple Doesn't Fall Far from the Tree...
Ante and Marica Kostelic are the parents of Ivica and Janica. Athletic - and musical - talent run in the family. Marica was a great rukomet player when she was still a student. Ante is their trainer - and he is known for taking sports very seriously.
Ante has been an avid sports enthusiast all his life.
Due to his bad luck at getting injuries constantly, he got the name "Gips", which means "Cast Wearer" in Croatian. He competed as a swimmer, skier, rukomet player and a racing car driver. With 15 years experience as a professional Rukomet (Handball) trainer he worked with various male and female teams, getting a reputation for being hard working, serious and expecting a lot.
When switched careers from Rukomet coach to Ski Coach for two major ski clubs in Zagreb, he was first admitted as a "conditioning" coach. Ante is reportedly to have answered, "Listen, John, I came over here to create world champions!" Intense and focused, he increased the skiers workouts with the intention of bringing out their brilliance, something that their parents hadn't counted on.
Along the way he began training his son, Ivica, with no immediate intention of training Janica - until he realized just how talented she was. She could have gone to the Slovenian team - but Ante refused. For many long years, the Kostelic family supported their children's skiing expenses - everything from equipment, transportation, medical, dues and fees and other costs - without the financial help of any sponsor.
Trainer Extraordinaire, Ante received three awards for excellent training - two in 2001 and another in 2003. He was then received by Premier Ivica Račan with his two protogees, Ivica and Janica.
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