Sunday, January 19, 2003

New Kids on the Slopes

One of the most important questions asked by the fans of alpine skiing was: How would the last week's brouhaha reflect on Kostelićs' (Kostelics') results on the ski slopes.

Today we got the answer: Not much.

Janica Kostelić (Janica Kostelic) finished 2nd at giant slalom event in Cortina d'Ampezzo, managing to rise from the 14th place after 1st run. Her success was mirrored by her 16-year old compatriot Ana Jelušić (Ana Jelusic) who managed to win the spot for the 2nd run.

Her brother Ivica fared somewhat worse at Wengen, event he had probably considered won before Nazi scandal. The crowd was surprisingly well-behaved, without offensive shouts or anything worse. He was concentrated on skiing and did it well. He could have probably finished 2nd, but the silver medal was taken from him by Japanese miracle in the form of Akira Sasaki, 21-year outsider who had negligible chances to enter 2nd run. Instead, young Japanese finished 7th in the first run, and 2nd after the first run.

The real test for Kostelićs could be Maribor slalom event next week. The place is few hours of drive from Zagreb, and that means that Zagreb soccer fans could come and stir trouble, as they did couple of years ago, bringing the sport hooliganism phenomenon to alpine skiing. Janica, in her victory speech for Croatian private station Nova TV warned her fans to behave. Unlike her brother, she seems to grasp how her words could have consequences.


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