Janica and Ivica Kostelić, Croatian skiing prodigies

Skiing and winter sports, in general, were never that huge in Croatia except as some form of a hobby during winter holidays. A country so small with so few places to ski and is mostly known for its seaside and summer holidays, honestly, would hardly give excellent winter athletes, right? Wrong!
Just when everyone thought Croatia would never leave a mark on the map of winter sports such as skiing, a snowy fairytale had just begun. A brother and sister, Ivica (born in 1979) and his younger sister Janica (born in 1982), would leave a mark in Croatian sports history like only a few athletes before did. They started to ski at an early age, competing in children’s European competitions, such as Topolino and Pinnochio, mostly winning first places. It didn’t take long for their father, Ante Kostelić, to recognize the talent and will his children have, so he assumed the role of their coach. The trip to the top was not easy at all; it brought many severe injuries for both Janica and Ivica, and every season was under one big question mark of whether will they continue skiing or not. But all the struggles they’ve got through did have results, significant results. Janica was suddenly a national star with 9 Olympic gold and two silver medals and three big and seven small Crystal Globes. Ivica also did excellent, with four silver Olympic medals and five small and one big Crystal Globe. This sibling couple broke the barriers for winter sports within the Croatian nation and also cut the obstacles for Croatians in winter sports. Today both of them don’t ski professionally due to long-term injuries they both suffered in their career but are still active in national sports organizations and will forever stay role models for those who believe that hard work and a friendly personality will get you far.

Hrvatski skijaški savez
Hrvatski skijaški savez

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