Croatia's Ivica Kostelic poses with a Japanese flag in tribute to the victims of the earthquake and ensuing Tsunami, during the Ski World Cup Crystal Globe trophy ceremony in the Alpine Ski World Cup finals on March 19, 2011 in Lenzerheide. Photo by Getty Images.
Croatia's Ivica Kostelic poses with his Ski World Cup men's Super combined Crystal Globe trophy during the podium ceremony at the Alpine ski World Cup on March 18, 2011 in Lenzerheide. AFP PHOTO / FRANCK FIFE
Ivica Kostelic Kitzbuhel 2011 Super G WINNER
Ivica Kostelic Kitzbuhel 2011 Kombinacija, Himna
Bravo, Ivica! Kostelic won the Big Crystal Globe
Croatian sport experienced another tremendous success today. Our best skier Ivica Kostelic finally had his years long dream come true. Kostelic won the Big Crystal Globe at the skiing slope in Kviftjell, Norway.
In order to win this prestigious skiing trophy, it was suffient for Ivica to take the 21st place in downhill where he was behind for one second and 56 hundreds of a second behind the winner of the race, Michael Walchofer from Austria. Since his main rivals, Didier Duche, Silvan Zurbriggen and Aksel Lund Svindal all achieved results below expectation, by winning the seventh 29th and 37th place, Ivica achieved 518 extra points ahead of the competition with his race, which is sufficient for his his overall victory in the world cup, five races before its end.
The Big Crystal Globe by Ivica Kostelic is the greatest success in the history of male skiing in Croatia. His sister Janica has won three globes so far.
Croatia's Ivica Kostelic kisses the trophy of the alpine ski, men's World Cup super-combined discipline title, at the World Cup finals in Lenzerheide, Switzerland, Friday, March 18, 2011. (AP Photo/Giovanni Auletta)
Johnny Be Good
Kostelic wins World Cup crown
KVITFJELL, Norway (Reuters) - Ivica Kostelic became the first Croatian to win the men's overall World Cup on Saturday after taking an unassailable lead in the standings with five races to go.
A 20th place in Saturday's downhill at Kvitfjell was enough to put the 31-year-old 518 points clear of Switzerland's Didier Cuche, who finished seventh.
A win in a World cup race is worth 100 points.
Kostelic, whose sister Janica won the overall women's World Cup three times, won seven races this season, all in a stunning run in January, as he became the first slalom specialist to clinch the title since Benjamin Raich in 2006.
The overall World Cup is considered by many skiers to be more than prestigious than an Olympic or world championship gold medal as it is decided over the whole season and various disciplines.
Austria's Michael Walchhofer won the race, his third victory in a downhill this season, one week before the 35-year-old's retirement.
"I have been dreaming of this and fighting for this for years," Kostelic, who also leads the slalom standings and is second in Super G, told reporters.
"The overall World Cup title is the greatest achievement you can reach in Alpine skiing.
Croatia's Ivica Kostelic performs a cart-wheel on the podium prior to receive the Ski World Cup Crystal Globe trophy of the overall leader during a podium ceremony in the Alpine Ski World Cup finals on March 19, 2011 in Lenzerheide.
Overall leader Croatia's Ivica Kostelic (C) holds the trophy between second Switzerland's Didier Cuche (L) and compatriot Carlo Janka during a the men's overall Ski World Cup Crystal Globe trophy ceremony in the Alpine Ski World Cup finals on March 19, 2011 in Lenzerheide. Source 1click.indiatimes.com
A dream came true for Ivica Kostelic in Norway Saturday 12 March 2011
Ten years after scoring his first World Cup points, Croatia’s Ivica Kostelic achieved his wildest dream clinching the men’s Overall World Cup title a week prior the Finals at Lenzerheide. The 2003 slalom World Champion became the first slalom specialist since Austria’s Benjamin Raich in 2006 to accomplish that fantastic performance after accumulating a series of impressive results in January, celebrating seven victories within a month including an amazing triumph in Super-G at Kitzbühel.
A 20th place in Saturday's downhill at Kvitfjell was enough to put the 31-year-old 518 points clear of Switzerland's Didier Cuche, a disappointing seventh in that competition. A win in a World cup race is worth 100 points and there are only five races lefts until the end of the season.
The overall World Cup is considered by many athletes to be more meaningful than an Olympic or FIS World Championship gold medal as it is decided during the whole season and over various disciplines. Ivica’s younger sister Janica clinched the big crystal globe three times during her career, including in 2006 with victories in all disciplines, establishing a record mark for women of 1970 points.
"I have been dreaming of this and fighting for this for years," said afterwards the skier from Zagreb who also leads the slalom standings and is second in Super-G. "The overall title is the greatest achievement you can reach in Alpine skiing because you have to be so consistent throughout the entire season and score big points in all disciplines,” added the three time Olympic silver medallist who also captured the combined cup this winter with victories in Wengen, Kitzbühel and Chamonix.
"I grew up in respect of the all-rounders and I have always been seeking for excellence in all events. My sister won it three times and that has been a big inspiration for me. I'm proud to have done it, being foremost a slalom skier," he also commented.
Kostelic, trained since his younger age by his father Ante, a former handball player, is a great supporter of tradition in ski racing. He was particularly proud in recent seasons to excel in prestigious ‘Classics’ as the Lauberhorn at Wengen or the Hahnenkamm at Kitzbühel.
He sacrificed his chances for a probable gold medal in combined at the recent FIS Worlds at Garmisch-Partenkirchen to take a break at home and recover part of his form for the last gate events in Bavaria. Unfortunately, he injured himself at the back of his knee in the second giant slalom run, which prevented him to be fully fit for the final slalom.
He surprisingly straddled gates in the last two slaloms at Bansko, in Bulgaria, and Kranjska Gora, Slovenia, which helps France’s new World Champion Jean Baptiste Grange to challenge him until the end next week at Lenzerheide.
Like Raich, the last Austrian Overall World Cup champion, Kostelic turned himself into a complete skier able to fight for podiums in technical and speed events. It has not been the case in 1995 when Italy’s superstar Alberto Tomba was the last pure slalom expert to clinch the overall cup without scoring a single point in Super-G, downhill or combined.
In 1997 France’s Luc Alphand, a speed specialist, won the big globe without gaining any point in the technical events or in combined. In the following years, all the overall World Cup champion managed to excel in at least three specialties and eventually also in combined. In 2005, USA’s Bode Miller captured his first overall title after having won races in all four alpine specialties.
“Nowadays you also need to score points in the speed events, you have to be a more complete skier than in the past,” the 31-year-old Kostelic explained. “I’m particularly proud of what I achieved in January, it’s pretty amazing to win so many events in a single month, I surfed on an incredible roll" also said Kostelic, who plans go on and compete at least until the Winter Olympics in Sochi in 2014.
In fact, Kostelic has been fully rewarded for his impressive determination which helped him to overcome many severe knee injuries in the last 1990s and also a few years ago. Janica, who has also faced tough times at the start of the amazing career, said once that it’s impossible to fully appreciate Ivica’s achievements in the last ten years without seeing him suffering during his numerous rehabilitations.
Now Ivica can fully focus on the Finals and the concert he plans to hold on Saturday night after the slalom with some friends of him including Sweden’s Andre Myhrer, who is also a great guitar player. A passionate rock’& roll guitarist, Kostelic already enchanted several time the crowd at World Cup races, such as in 2002 when he plaid ‘Johnny be good’ in the finish area at Adelboden after finishing 2nd in slalom or at Wengen on stage at the awards ceremony organized in the middle of the small Swiss resort.
Croatia's Ivica Kostelic (L) and Germany's Maria Riesch pose with their Ski World Cup Crystal Globe trophies of the overall leaders during a podium ceremony in the Alpine Ski World Cup finals on March 19, 2011 in Lenzerheide.
Kostelić Slalom Compillation by coach Greg
LENZERHEIDE, Switzerland - Ivica Kostelic captured the men's World Cup slalom title while Italy's Guiliano Razzoli won the final race Saturday.
Kostelic placed 18th and out of the points but his closest rivals failed to take advantage.
Frenchman Jean-Baptiste Grange skied out in the first run, and Sweden's Andre Myhrer needed to win the race but finished sixth in the thick fog.
Michael Janyk of Whistler, B.C., finished fifth on the strength of a fine second run that left him sitting third with two skiers remaining.
"I’m happy to come away with a fifth. Another close one,” said Janyk. “The conditions were not optimal.
"I went out with a plan in the first run and got bounced around a lot but I really adapted and made the necessary changes in the second run.”
Janyk has been close to a podium finish several times this season, with fifth-place efforts in Bansko, Bulgaria, and Adelboden, Switzerland, in addition to a fourth-place result in Wengen, Switzerland.
“It’s all in my head, it's all mental," he said. "I ski well enough in training to win.
"I’ve done a lot of work in the last year. I was either fast or skiing out this season. I look at it as a positive. It’s changing – I’m adapting. Next season I’ll really be going after the wins.”
Kostelic's second slalom title comes nine years after the first in his injury-plagued career.
Kostelic was also the runaway winner in the overall standings, and won the super-combined title.
Croatia's Ivica Kostelic (C) holds the Ski World Cup Crystal Globe trophy of winner at the men's overall standing in the Alpine Ski World Cup finals on March 19, 2011 in Lenzerheide.
Ivica Kostelić with his sister Janica, the greatest female skier in history, and with his father Ante. Amazing trio.
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