Kostelic May Miss Entire World Cup Season


ZAGREB, Croatia, Nov.5, 2003 -- Olympic ski champion Janica Kostelic is taking medication for a thyroid problem and may miss the entire World Cup season.

Kostelic, who won three gold medals and a silver at the Salt Lake City Olympics, was upbeat about her future but declined to be specific about her ailment. "There's no panic, it's a disease that can be healed,"Kostelic said Wednesday. "With medicines and rehabilitation, it could be solved in two, three, four or five weeks, or two months. "I have a right to privacy. I am a normal human being, regardless of what I've achieved and this is my private thing."

Kostelic sought medical care Tuesday at a clinic in Zagreb. Doctors told her a thyroid condition had worsened and advised her to rest.

The two-time World Cup champion, who also underwent four knee operations in the past eight months, said her latest ailment has prevented full-strength training. "This won't cause any problems for my career,"she said.

Kostelic's father and coach, Ante Kostelic, said his daughter planned to consult other specialists. "What I can tell you is that she's taking medicines and won't undergo an operation,"he said. "She doesn't have a cancer."

Kostelic already missed the opening races of the World Cup season to recover from her latest knee surgery a month ago. Kostelic became the first alpine skier to win four medals at a single Olympics. At Salt Lake City, she won gold in the slalom, the combined and the giant slalom, and took silver in the super-G.