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Wednesday, 20 February, 2002, 21:41 GMT

Kostelic is the comeback queen

BBC Sport's skiing commentator Martin Bell looks back at the women's slalom where Croat Janica Kostelic picked up her second gold of the Games.

What Kjetil Andre Aamodt is doing in the men's skiing events, Janica Kostelic appears to be doing in the women's.

It was quite a close run thing though and probably closer than what the Croat would have anticipated.

She was pushed all the way by silver medallist Laure Pequegnot of France, with only seven hundredths of a second separating the pair.

The conditions weren't exactly brilliant at the Deer Valley Resort, with all that heavy snow, but it certainly separated the men from the boys - well - women from the girls.

Kostelic is a superb athlete and a brave woman having come back from a bad knee injury to enjoy the success she has had at the Games.

She won the overall World Cup title last season after winning eight consecutive slalom events.

But the Croat choked at the World Championships in 2001, falling in the slalom section of the combined and then finishing fifth overall in the regular slalom event.

I think she's well and truly shaken off that tag. Basically, as was the case with Aamodt, once you win your first medal - it was gold in the combined for Kostelic - then you start to relax.

The Croat then went on to win silver in the super-G and now has a second gold - just to prove my point.

The biggest surprise of the day was that Anja Paerson only came away with the bronze.

She's done brilliantly in the World Cup this season, but her problem is that she is an all or nothing skier.

She tended to ski quite conservatively today and maybe that's what cost her the big prize.

Kostelic now has the giant slalom to look forward to - maybe her Olympic run is over quite yet.


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