Monday, January 27, 2003

Kostelić (Kostelic) Update

Nazi controversy perhaps really had some effect on Ivica Kostelić (Ivica Kostelic) or perhaps it served as an excellent excuse for him to stop skiing as good as he was used to. Today, for the first time since the beginning of the year, he didn't get a medal on ski event. His Austrian archrival Rainer Schöenfelder managed to beat him, but the real winner was Kale Palander, Finn who had made a nasty habit of winning first slalom run only to crash in the second. Today Palander won for the first time in his life.

In the meantime, Ivica's sister Janica again beat the odds. Despite being affected by flu and visibly not feeling good she made good run in Maribor and won second place. The huge boost came in the form of some 8,000-10,000 supporters who drove from Zagreb. Since most of those people are soccer fans, organisers and Kostelićs – Janica and her father Ante – had to employ all their powers of persuasion to calm those people down and prevent them from throwing snowballs at Janica's rivals.

Because of that I was quite worried about Swedish skier Anja Paerson who was leading after the 1st run and had to make 2nd run after Janica. However, the only obstacle on her path was smoke made with celebratory pyrotechnics. Paerson was real trooper and won the event, third in the row. That victory, however, won't prevent Janica to claim Little Crystal Globe as this year's best slalom racer.


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