St. Anton, Austria Feb. 7, 2001 (FIS)--She may have crashed out in the combined slalom event, but Janica Kostelic is the undoubted favorite for Wednesday night's World Championship slalom event in St Anton, Austria.
Last Friday, spectators saw a rare sight as the 19-year-old Croatian slipped and fell in the first run of the combined slalom. But over the World Cup season, this has been unheard of.
Kostelic has won every slalom event this winter ¿ seven out of seven - and unless she has another uncharacteristic slip-up on Wednesday night, she will become the new World Champion, taking over the reigns from Australian Zali Steggall.
Steggal was a surprise winner at the 1999 World Championships and this season her best result in the World Cup has been 14th, in Aspen, Colorado. It seems unlikely she will pull out another surprise run on Wednesday night.
With Kostelic tipped for the gold, the fight for the remaining two medals will probably come down to five people: Kristina Koznick of America, Trine Bakke of Norway, Karin Koellerer of Austria, Sonja Nef of Switzerland and Martina Ertl of Germany.
Koznick is second in the World Cup standings, although the margin between herself and Kostelic is enormous. But she does not stand out as a certainty for a medal; the other three likely contenders have all been on the podium three times this winter, just like Koznick, and they all have an equal chance of success.
And, compared to the host nation's success in the downhill over the past two days, there is also a chance there will be no Austrians on the podium this time.
The first run begins at 17:30CET, with a total of 89 competitors, and the second run will start at 20:30CET.