Ivica Kostelić (CRO)
Manfred Mölgg (ITA)
Patrick Thaler (ITA)
Ivica Kostelić (CRO)

THIRD PLACE ON HOME GROUND: 20,000 FANS CELEBRATE WITH KOSTELIĆ

06.01.2012
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Fifth World Cup Slalom in Zagreb, fourth podium finish for local hero Ivica Kostelić. Third place may not have been the victory he was hoping for in his home race but Kostelić was still very satisfied with his result. "To win a race this season you have to beat three or four exceptional athletes. And that's by no means easy," says Fischer's figurehead.
Luckily the winner of two races this season also ranks among the top racers himself. But in the race on home ground on the Sljeme hill the pressure on Croatia's current best skier is immense every year. And despite all the prophecies of doom, Kostelić was still pleased about third place: "Winning on home ground would certainly be an amazing experience. But it's extremely difficult, especially with everybody's hopes resting on me. It's good that I made it to the podium!"

 

Truly delighted with podium

 

True words indeed when you consider what happened after the race. Even though initial reactions were perhaps a little reserved – in third place after the first run and 'only' in second after crossing the line in the second, a place on the podium was by no means certain. But the joy on the faces of the team at the end of the race was clear to see and it was hugs all round for the Croatian team as celebrations got underway. After three second places and one non-qualification, which was just the same as skiing out, this is now the first third place on home ground for Kostelić. Now only victory is missing – the thing that the 20,000 spectators who reach fever pitch every year would so much like to see. Kostelić compared the pressure at his home race with that of a race in Schladming if only one Austrian were to take part.

 

Three top-13 places for Fischer

 

Many athletes had a hard time with the extremely difficult piste and the weather conditions. However, despite the weather, Fischer was once again pleased about the good overall performance of its team. Manfred Mölgg (ITA) finished in eighth place with another good result and Patrick Thaler (ITA) was also pleased about another top placing. After 13th place in Zagreb he is now already 20th on the Slalom starting list. The fact that he was thrown out of the Italian team last year makes his results this year even more impressive. The extremely popular Fischer ski boots are still going from strength to strength as well. With Christian Deville (ITA) in fourth place, Jens Byggmark (SWE) in ninth and tenth place for Stefano Gross (ITA), who celebrated the second top-ten finish of his career so far, three more racers with Fischer boots were among the best ten.