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(E) Ivica World Champion
By Nenad N. Bach | Published  02/16/2003 | Sports | Unrated
(E) Ivica World Champion
Distributed by CroatianWorld

Croatia'sKostelic skis to 2nd gold at worlds

                              


Ivica Kostelic of Croatia won the slalom at the World Championships on Sunday,spoiling Bode Miller's bid for a third gold medal.

Kostelic and his sister, Janica, who won the women's slalom on Saturday, becamethe first siblings to win gold medals in the same event at the worlds.

Kostelic fell to his knees briefly after the race and then embraced his sister.

"I am full of emotion," Kostelic said, wiping tears from his cheeks."It's one of the greatest days in my life.

"I had to take a lot of risks. I was on the edges a lot ... You had tofight on this course until the end."

Switzerland's Silvan Zurbriggen charged from seventh place to finish second,0.33 seconds behind the winner. Italy's Giorgio Rocca was third, 0.36 back.

Miller, who won the giant slalom and combined and finished second in the SuperG, finished sixth. He was trying to become the first American to win four medalsat worlds, finished sixth.

Kostelic, who has won three slalom races this season and leads the World Cupslalom standings led after the first run and protected his advantage lead tocapture his first major title. He covered the relatively flat Corviglia coursein 1 minute, 40.66 seconds.

Miller had a troubled first run, losing his left ski pole halfway down thecourse and 0.90 back. He also had a difficult second run, but managed to improveto places to sixth.

"I lost a lot of time in the first run. A gate hit me in the wrist and itslowed me down, I couldn't feel my hand after that," Miller said. "Iwas surprised I actually made it down, so to still be in the top six isn't toobad. I took a ton of risks in the second run but I had mistakes."

Miller finished the two-week event as the first American to win three medals ata championship and the first to win two golds.

"It would have been nice to win another medal but it didn't happen,"Miller said. "Ivica had a great run, he showed why he is the champion. Hetook the World Cup title over me last season and I am not surprised hewon."

American Chip Knight finished 12th; Tom Rothrock, who had the fastest secondrun, shared 13th place and Erik Schlopy finished in a tie for 16th.

Austria's Benjamin Raich, second after the first run, fell to fourth, andcountryman Manfred Pranger, third after the first heat, slipped to fifth.

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