Second bronze for Pärson

Sweden's Anja Pärson won her second bronze medal of the 2006 Winter Olympics in the women's combined alpine event in San Sicario Fraiteve on Saturday afternoon.

But the day belonged to Croatian favourite Janica Kostelic, who battled a bout of flu to win gold, adding to her three Olympic golds from Salt Lake City.

The defending champion, second after Friday’s two slalom runs, had been under the weather for several days but braved the elements to finish ahead of Austrian Marlies Schild and Pärson.

Kostelic had broken down in tears after withdrawing from the downhill on Wednesday due to a high pulse rate but this time there were tears of joy.

The downhill leg had been cancelled on Friday after strong winds but the 24-hour delay failed to knock Kostelic, dubbed the ‘Croatian Sensation’, off her stride.

The combined race is regarded as a true test of all-around talent and hers shone through once again as she bettered Pärson’s time by 0.55 sec.

At the age of 24 Kostelic already has five Olympic medals, four of them gold, in her trophy cabinet and still has a chance to increase that tally.

For Pärson one gold would suffice with the World Cup leader picking up another bronze to follow the one she collected in the downhill. She still has the slalom, giant slalom and the super-G to look forward to.