Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: SARAJEVO ( BiH )
Bravo to Ivica and Janica Kostelic
ST. MORITZ, Switzerland (AP) - Ivica Kostelic of Croatia won the men's slalom at the world alpine ski championship Sunday, following in the footsteps of his sister Janica, who won the women's race a day earlier.
They became the first brother and sister to win gold medals in the same event at a world championship.
Kostelic fell on his knees briefly after the race and the siblings then embraced tightly for a long time.
``I am full of emotion,'' Kostelic said, wiping tears off his cheeks. ``It's one of the greatest days in my life.''
Kostelic led after the first run and protected his lead to capture his first major title.
Silvan Zurbriggen of Switzerland charged from behind to grab the silver medal, and Giorgio Rocca of Italy took the bronze.
American Bode Miller, who was seeking his third gold of the championship, finished sixth.
Kostelic covered the relatively flat Corviglia course in a winning aggregate time of one minute 40.66 seconds.
Zurbriggen, who rallied from seventh place, finished 0.33 seconds behind. Rocca was 0.36 adrift.
Kostelic's victory in the final event of the championship completed a Croatian dominated weekend and allowed him to emerge from the considerable shadow of his younger sister.
Janica, 21, won the slalom Saturday to add to the gold she took in the combined event.
She also won three golds and a silver at last year's Olympics in Salt Lake City, while the 23-year-old Ivica had never won a medal at a major championship.
``I had to take a lot of risks,'' Kostelic said after his win Sunday. ``I was on the edges a lot, I saw that Zurbriggen had had a super run. You had to fight on this course until the end.''
``Before the race we had a chat and I told him that he would win today. He said it would be difficult to beat me. I told him that if I win, he'd be second and that's what happened,'' Kostelic said.
Ivica and Janica gave Croatia three golds at the championship, putting the small country with little snow and few slopes right at the top with alpine powerhouse Austria. Austria led the championship, however, with a total of nine. The United States, with two golds and a total of six, was third, its best showing in the history of world championships.
Zurbriggen, who trailed Kostelic 0.72 seconds after the first heat, is a 21-year-old newcomer in his first season on the circuit who had completed only four races before the championship.
``It's incredible,'' said Zurbriggen, who is not related to the former Swiss great Pirmin. ``I am enjoying it. I had a good run in the first heat too. I've never skied on this slope before. I never counted with a medal.''
Kostelic had won three slalom races before the championship and is leading the World Cup discipline standings.
- VICTORIA BECKHAM
- SARAJEVO - BiH
- Mervana Jugić-Salkić ( 24-5 )