Alexa

Olympic champion Kostelic to skip World Cup season

Olympic champion Kostelic to skip World Cup season

Four-time Olympic gold medalist Janica Kostelic won't defend her World Cup overall title this season and is taking a year off because of chronic back and knee pain.
The 24-year-old Croatian said Friday she would "pause for a year and then see what will happen," suggesting she could decide to retire.
"I've decided to take a break this season due to the unbearable pain in my back, my knees and everywhere else," Kostelic said. "It is not an easy decision to make for someone who loves skiing, but I am not a machine."
Kostelic, who has had 10 knee operations and thyroid surgery, won her third overall World Cup title last season.
She also became the most successful female skier in Olympic history when she won gold and silver at the Turin Games, adding to her three golds and a silver from Salt Lake City in 2002.
Kostelic has won 30 World Cup races and posted victories in all five alpine disciplines last season.
Kostelic skipped grueling pre-season training this year and was often photographed by tabloids sipping coffee and scuba diving in the coastal city of Rijeka, where she lives with her boyfriend.
"I tried to ski with pain but it is not working," Kostelic said. "Now it is time to try other things in life."
The five-time world champion said she planned to run a beauty salon during her time away from the ski circuit.
"I am in the process of opening it right now," she said.
The head of the Croatian Ski Federation, Vedran Pavlek, said the team would be ready to take Kostelic back if she changes her mind during the season.
But Kostelic left little room for a turnaround.
"Although you never know, it is 99.9 percent sure that I will not ski this year at least," she said.