Janica Kostelic was tired and worried about her aching knee. She was on painkillers and just wanted to make it through the day in St. Moritz, Switzerland.

She did a whole lot better than that.

Kostelic won the combined yesterday, the first gold medal at a world championships for the three-time Olympic champion and winner of the overall World Cup title in 2001.

Skiing on the same hill where she nearly wrecked her career three years ago, Kostelic gave Croatia its first medal ever at the worlds.

"There's nothing different about this victory," she said. "But I'm glad I won it because everyone was saying, 'She's won everything but a world championship gold.' So I'm glad now that no one can say anything."

Nicole Hosp of Austria won the silver medal and Marlies Oester of Switzerland took the bronze.

For the United States, Julia Mancuso was seventh, while Resi Stiegler was 10th and Caroline Lalive 13th.


Women's Group Weighs In

Coaches in women's college basketball who try to gain an advantage in the recruiting process by telling athletes that they should steer clear of some schools because their coaches are lesbians perpetuate "stereotypes, myths, and misconceptions," according to the Women's Sports Foundation, which issued a condemnation of the "negative recruiting" outlined in a Jan. 24 report in The Washington Post.

Dawn Riley, president of the Women's Sports Foundation, warned coaches in a statement that such negative recruiting tactics could backfire.

"As recruits become more aware of an institution's negative recruiting tactics they will reconsider whether or not they want to attend a school that acts so unethically," Riley said. . . .

Maryland men's soccer coach Sasho Cirovski and his wife, women's soccer coach Shannon Higgins-Cirovski, each had their contracts extended through 2009, Athletic Director Debbie Yow announced.


Sorenstam to Colonial?

Annika Sorenstam could be offered an exemption to the Colonial in Fort Worth and become the first woman in 58 years to play on the PGA Tour, Golf World magazine reported.

The 32-year-old Swede, who last year won 13 times around the world and shattered the LPGA Tour scoring average, said two weeks ago that she would love to compete against the men if offered an exemption.


Convicted Hockey Dad Seeks Retrial

A Massachusetts man convicted of fatally beating another man at their sons' hockey practice wants a new trial, contending prosecutors kept information from the defense that could have undermined testimony from a key witness.

Thomas Junta was convicted of involuntary manslaughter in January 2001 for beating Michael Costin on July 5, 2000.


Jordan Gives TNT a Boost

Michael Jordan's final NBA all-star game gave Turner Network Television the best rating for a college or pro basketball game in cable history. The game generated an overnight cable rating of 9.8.

Horse Racing

Wilzada Out of Fritchie

Wilzada, one of the top runners scheduled to compete in the Grade II $200,000 Barbara Fritchie Handicap at Laurel Park on Feb. 15, suffered a condyle fracture of her left foreleg Sunday and will miss the race.

Pro Football

Seahawks Hire GM

Bob Ferguson, who was fired as the Arizona Cardinals' general manager last month, accepted the same role with the Seattle Seahawks. Coach-GM Mike Holmgren stepped down in December to focus solely on coaching.

College Hockey

BU Beats BC in Beanpot

David VanderGulik and Brian McConnell scored 23 seconds apart in the second period as Boston University beat Boston College, 3-2, to win the Beanpot title in Boston for the eighth time in nine years.