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Janica Kostelic of Croatia Wins Gold in Combined Skiing - 2002-02-15

A Croatian alpine skier has won her country's first gold medal at the Winter Olympics.

Weather had an impact on this event just as it did earlier in the week for the women's downhill.

Fog and wind prompted the race jury to switch the order of the disciplines. So instead of starting the race with the downhill, the women's combined event opened with the two slalom runs.

Janica Kostelic of Croatia was fastest for both slalom runs down the course here and had a 1.1 second overall lead heading into the downhill segment. The 20-year-old displayed her versatility by finishing third fastest in the downhill. Her total time gave her the gold medal by 1.49 seconds over Austrian Renate Goetschl.

Goetschl was fourth after the slalom, but she was fastest in the downhill to win the silver. Taking the bronze medal was German veteran Martina Ertl. She was second fastest in the slalom and seventh in the downhill segment. Overall, Ertl was 1.88 seconds behind the winning Janica Kostelic, who earns Croatia's first medal of the Winter Olympics. Afterward, she said she could not believe she had won.

The best American finisher was Lindsey Kildow in sixth place.