| Distributed by CroatianWorld
"They're out of thisworld.?"
No, they are from CROATIA
Kostelic siblings make history winning on same day
Sun Jan 5, 7:10 PM ET
By ERICA BULMAN, Associated Press Writer
KRANJSKA GORA, Slovenia - Janica and Ivica Kostelic were already the stuff of myth in their native Croatia, idolized byyoung and old alike. Now they've made history by becoming the first siblings to win World Cup Alpine races on thesame day. "You can't touch them!" yelled 19-year-old fan Vanja Rebic, one of the hundreds of thousands of Croats who watched as
the races were replayed over and over again Sunday in Croatian bars and cafes.
"They're out of this world."
Janica began the day with a resounding slalom victory in Bormio, Italy, finishing a whopping 2.08 seconds ahead of Austria's Elisabeth Goergl. After receiving cake and a toast at the finish line to celebrate her birthday she turned 21on Sunday Janica and her father then watched on television as her brother captured another slalom in KranjsjkaGora, Slovenia, less than an hour later.
"It's a great day for our family," said Janica, the younger and more prolific winner of the family. "It's a strange recordindeed, but I'm pleased with it. What Ivica has done means a lot because we've spoken for years about winning a race onthe same day.
"And it's great it happened on my birthday. He couldn't have given me a better present."
Croatian sports commentator Ivan Blazicko hailed the day as "another unforgettable day bestowed upon us by theunforgettable Kostelics."
Even Croatian Prime Minister Ivica Racan joined the well-wishers, sending separate congratulatory letters, praisingtheir "spirit and motivation."
Last year, Janica and Ivica had both won on the same weekend, each clinching the slalom at the World Cup finals inFlachau, Austria.
Some 15 sets of siblings have won races since the creation of the World Cup almost 40 years ago, but none ever won arace on the same day. The closest any came was on Feb. 8, 1983, at St. Anton, Austria, when American Steve Mahre wona World Cup slalom while his brother Phil won the combined, a paper event computed from his performances in thedownhill and the slalom.
The American Cochran family was the only to boast three World Cup winners on the tour, with Barbara and Marylineach recording three career victories in the technical events in the early 1970s, and brother Bob clinching a giant slalomat home in Heavenly Valley at the World Cup finals in 1973. The Kostelics have both enjoyed their share of success this season, with Ivica claiming a new night knock-out slalom inSestrieres, Italy, two weeks ago and topping the discipline standings, and Janica leading the women's World Cup overalland slalom rankings after five victories.
However, over the years, Janica has generally stolen the spotlight, winning the World Cup overall in 2001 and becomingthe first Alpine skier to capture four medals in a single Olympics. She also has a commendable 23 World Cup victories toher name.
The two, who are coached by father Ante Kostelic, had been in position to set a record in Salt Lake City as the firstbrother-sister team in 22 years to win Alpine skiing medals at the same Olympics.
Janica did her part, winning the slalom, giant slalom and combined event and getting the silver in the super giantslalom becoming the first Alpine skier to capture four medals in a single Olympics but Ivica missed a gate in themen's slalom.
The Kostelics are icons in Croatia and their rise from poverty and gloom to fame and stardom has become a fable forchildren in the country of 4.5 million, which is struggling to emerge from the ravages of war after it declaredindependence from Yugoslavia in 1991.
Janica's Salt Lake performance drew tears to the eyes of many, who recalled her hobbling on crutches from damagedknee ligaments only months before the races.
"The Kostelics are setting international standards for skiing in a country where most people don't even get to see snowduring winter," marveled Mirela Dabic, a housewife in Zadar on the Dalmatian coastline. "They are not normal."
Sunday's win marked Janica's fifth of the season.
She completely dominated the field, posting the fastest time in both runs. The 2.08 second margin over Goergl was thebiggest margin of victory in a women's slalom since 1973, when France's Danielle Debernard won by 2.12 seconds inNaeba, Japan.
Ivica led after the opening leg and had a total time of 1 minute, 44.71 seconds on the badly rutted course to record hissecond straight victory. Austria's Rainer Schoenfelder was runner-up in 1:44.98 and Olympic slalom championJean-Pierre Vidal of France was third in 1:45.03.
"I didn't watch her race because I was preparing for my race," Ivica said. "But we had a guy on the team watching theTV and telling us the times over the radio. When I heard Janica had won by two seconds I was jumping up and down injoy."
The two will have another chance to win on the same day on Jan. 19 when the men race a slalom inWengen, Switzerland, and the women compete in a giant slalom in Cortina, Italy.