Skier Kostelic's Thyroid Gland Removed

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Croatia's Janica Kostelic celebrates as she wins the gold medal in the Women's Combined on Thurs. Feb. 14, 2002.(credit: AP/Rudi

Zagreb, Croatia Jan. 21, 2003 (Associated Press) -- Olympic champion Janica Kostelic underwent surgery for a thyroid imbalance Wednesday and is expected to resume rehabilitation for a knee injury in about five weeks.

Kostelic's thyroid gland was removed, and she will remain hospitalized for a week, according to Dr. Tomislav Anic, whose team performed a two-hour operation.

Kostelic, the defending World Cup champion and three-time Olympic gold medalist, was sidelined at the start of this season because of a knee injury. Her expected return last month was delayed after the thyroid disorder was discovered. The 21-year-old Kostelic has had four knee operations in the past 10 months, most recently in October. She became the first Alpine skier to win four medals at a single Olympics, taking three golds and a silver at the Salt Lake City Games.