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24/11/2017 - 19:12
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FIS Ski Federation

Croatian Olympic Comittee
Lenzerheide (SUI), 13.03.2005.
Janica Kostelic 2nd in Overall World Cup
After a dramatic and uncertain giant slalom race in which she came in 8th and Anja Paerson 17th, Janica Kostelic lost the 2005 Overall World Cup by only three points! The skier from Zagreb needed to finish at least 7th to score enough points to pass her Swedish rival. Yet she missed it by 9/100 of a second, which is the closest losing margin in World Cup history since 1967, when Canada's Nancy Greene clinched the Overall standings beating her main rival Marielle Goitschel by 7/100 in slalom.

In 1979, Austria's Annemarie Moser-Proell also beat Hanni Wenzel from Liechtenstein by only three points - but in a totally other point system than now!

The situation remained totally opened until the arrival of the last skier, Spain's Maria Jose Rienda-Contreras, who clocked the final best time. Janica and Anja were standings together at the exit gate waiting the issue of this last and crucial competition of the season. None of them was sure to clinch the Cup until the very end of the race.

"We were talking about it and calculating what she or I needed to be to clinch the big Globe," said Paerson at the press conference. "Janica knew it exactly, and for a while she was the Overall champion because she was 6th and finally 7th before the start of the last racer," Anja Paerson recalled. "And then Maria Jose came in with the best time and it was over, I won it, it's totally crazy. But you know, I would have proud to be 2nd behind Janica who is such a big champion. She is a great fighter!"

Both champions warmly encouraged each other at the start before fighting their way down the course. "We are great rivals as soon as the clock begins to tick, but beside this, we are going along well, there is no need to hate each other," explained Janica after the awards.

"While we talked together today, we both agreed that each of us had a great season and who ever wins the Cup, the other would be pleased the same to be 2nd. Of course it's tough to lose the Cup by three points only, but I was not the favourite for the Overall at the beginning of the season and even not coming here. I don't want to start checking where I could have scored a few points more, but it's sure that I lost important points by only a few hundredths this winter. But again, I reached much more than I expected and I was not planning anything of this at the season start!"

"I tried my best in today's race, but my GS is just not good enough this season even if I skied better today than in past giant slalom races. I would have made it if I would have skied as well as today in recent giant slaloms. I was not especially nervous. In fact I was telling myself at the start that 2nd place in the Overall is pretty good, which was maybe a mistake. I should have been looking and fighting for me, be more determined. But it's over now."

"I also think that I did better this season even without winning the Overall title than in 2003 when I did clinch it! Because I didn't expect anything for this winter. I was even not sure last summer that I would even be in the top-10 in single race. A year ago, my only concern was to be back and skiing again on the tour, feel the atmosphere and the excitement. "

Janica seemed happy and relieved that the season was finally over and the pressure gone. Yet, she already starts to think about the coming Olympic winter. "I'm also very pleased to be quite healthy now and in better shape than at the beginning of the season. It will help me to start the next training on a higher level and improve my form during the summer. Then I can aim for more."

The World Cup season is over for Janica, yet she still has one week of racing left. On Tuesday, she is competing in the Super-G of the National Croatian Championships in Innerkrems, then, over the weekend, in Sljeme where the technical events will be organized. Then it will time to take a break.

Patrick Lang
Ivica Kostelic official website
Croatian ski team official website
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