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subota, 8. siječnja 2011.

2011 VIP Zagreb "Snow Queen Trophy" At Sljeme Another Great Success/ Ivica Kostelic Triumphs in Switzerland

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Just a follow up about the 2011 Sljeme "Snow Queen Trophy" which ended just a few days ago, and which I mentioned HERE. This one had everything again. Almost 150 of the worlds best skiers showed up to try to take  the mens and womens titles and prize money. Tons of food, drinks and entertainment. Not to mention a lot of hot women skiers in those bodysuits). Ivica Kostelic, the hometown boy was rooted on by over 22,000 fans, and even Croatian Prime Minister, Jadranka Kosor, and President Ivo Josipovic as well as the current mayor of Zagreb, Milan Bandic, came out to enjoy the excitement of the day. Also as ususal Ivica's sister, skiing legend Janica Kostelic and her father Ante also showed up to cheer Ivica on. Photogallery of the crowd and atmosphere preceding the big race:

Ivica had a fantastic race again this year. It went down to the wire and only 10/100ths of a second separated Ivica from the top podium position. This is the 3rd time that Ivica has finished 2nd at Sljeme. It would have been great to have won on home turf, but like Ivica said..."I will quit skiing when I get sick of winning 2nd place." There will be more slalom races at Sljeme for Ivica to give it another shot as long as he stays healthy. Even with his chronic health problems, Ivica Kostelic can still be proud of so far winning a world title, 3 Olympic medals, one slalom crystal globe and 13 World Cup races. And he's already off to an exceptional start this World Cup ski season. Again, the only question is will his health, especially his knee, hold up?

Footage of both of Ivica's runs.

This years edition showed again that Croatians can put on a great show for major international sporting events. Many of the skiers and journalists who follow the World Cup skiing tour say that Sljeme is one of the most fun and energetic atmospheres to watch skiing at. The fans really get pumped and vocal, especially since they can get so close to the course. The "Snow Queen Trophy" is the most visited race in the Alpine skiing World Cup, and the only stop on the World Cup circuit that is held in a capital city, that being Zagreb. I'm so looking forward to catching the races live myself and feel the electricity first hand.

Marlies Schild of Austria took the womens crown this time around, and since Janica's ski boots are very hard to fill, the womens Croatian side still did well with Ana Jelusic finishing a very solid 11th, and newbie and Zagreb girl  Sofija Novoselic making an impression with a 25th place finish. As an added great piece of news, Janica Kostelic helped out with the drive to raise funds for the nearby Gornja Bistra special hospital for children’s chronic diseases.

Ivica discussing his run and the race.

Ivica's had health problems over the last couple of seasons, including 8 knee operations which forced him to miss some crucial races and miss points. If he can stay healthy, and continue with his solid technical style, he may be standing atop the podium at the end of the season where it will mean more. Ivica had another good performance today, finishing 5th in Switzerland and currently sits in 3rd place in the Overall World Cup Standings, 31 points behind Aksel Lund Svindalo of Norway. I'm already looking forward to next year's races.

Over 458 foreign reporters came to Sljeme from Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Canada, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Hungary, Italy, Japan, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden, Switzerland and the United States.

Members of the Croatian Mountain Rescue Service were always nearby to gaurantee the comfort and safety of the public at Sljeme. 

Plenty of food was available for all the visitors. Depending on which ticket you had, one had the choice between 10,000 portions of everything from Croatian sarma (cabbage rolls), sausages, sandwiches, strudels and chocolates to marinated steak, venison, tuna, seafoods, cheeses and much more. Of course premium wines were also readily available. Here current mayor of Zagreb, Milan Bandić, who admits to feeling at home in the kitchen, even came out to help prepare authentic Croatian style sarma.

Here are some facts from this years "VIP Zagreb Snow Queen Trophy":

* EUR 240,000 in prize money. (Largest prize fund in the Alpine skiing World Cup).

* 147 skiers from 28 countries participated.

* 30,000 people watched the 2 World Cup races.

* 2000 people involved in organizing the races.

* 20 television stations from 16 countries transmitted the races live.

* 300 million viewers from around the world.

* 458 foreign photographers and reporters accredited for the Worl Cup Slalom races.

Some of the over 30,000 ski fans who showed up for the World Cup races.

*Updated November 10th  2011.- Ivica already is back on track and focusing on the World Cup slalom and combined disciplines. He just took the top podium spot in Adelboden Switzerland and now leads in the overall and slalom World Cup standings. Video below:

Footage of today's slalom race in Switzerland from Slovenian television.



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