Sunday, January 05, 2003

Kostelićs Rock!

The winter fairytale came true.

Janica Kostelić has won Bormio slalom and not only won, but created a miracle. Yesterday she fell during giant slalom and spent the night suffering from headache. But that didn’t matter in the end. She is real fighter. If someone looks at her X-ray picture he would believe that he is seeing the skeleton of an American Football player. This day she won at her birthday, and even made history. Her winning margin – 2 seconds - is 5th best in the history of alpine skiing.

An hour later her brother also entered history. His second victory this season was less impressive (0.71 seconds winning margin), but mere coincidence makes this a fairytale.

The only disappointment was the lack of fireworks in my home town of Split. Last time some Croatian athlete made miracle – Goran Ivanišević winning Wimbledon – resulting gunfire was comparable with the aftermath of news about Croatian Army taking Knin in 1995. Then again, Ivanišević was home boy and Kostelićs, with their use of Kajkavština dialect, are somewhat more alien to the average sports fan in this part of Croatia.

North-South animosity, that results in soccer hooligan clashes and occasional vandalism of “wrong” automobiles in Zagreb and Split, has reflected even on Kostelićs. One of the grafitti in Split called Janica “a pig”. On the other hand, among Janica’s supporters in Bormio there were those proudly showing flags of Torcida – Split’s soccer fans. This is more positive aspect of this story.


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