Carolina Kostner - Italy's Ice Princess
Carolina Kostner was born in Bolzano, Italy on February 8, 1987. Her mother, Patrizia, was a nationally-ranked figure skater during the 70s and her father, Erwin, played hockey in the 1984 Olympics and was captain of the Italian national team. Carolina is the cousin and god child of one of Isolde Kostner, winner of 3 Olympic gold medals in alpine skiing.
Carolina has two brothers, Martin and Simon. As a youngster, Carolina lived in the town of Ortisei, a tiny village in the Tyrol region of northern Italy. At the age of 14, Carolina, who carried the Italian flag during the 2006 opening ceremonies of the Torino Olympics, moved to Oberstdorf, Germany so she could attend a boarding school that was specially geared towards athletes.
Carolina, who goes by the nickname "Caro", left home because the rink she trained at in her hometown had been destroyed by a landslide. Oberstdorf is only four hours away from her family home. While in school, Carolina studies languages in the morning. She speaks five: Italian, German, English, French and Ladinic. Ladinic is a dialect that's linguistically similar to French and local to the region where she grew up. In the afternoon, Carolina practices her art, figure skating.
At 5-foot-6, Carolina, who was once the paramour of reigning men's world champion skater, Stephane Lambiel of Switzerland, is taller than many of her competitors. She is known for her speed on the ice and her ability to land difficult jump combinations. Interestingly enough, the double axle, which should be easy for an expert jumper like Carolina, is the one jump that she can't seem to master.
Carolina is coached in Germany by Michael Huth but heads over to Alberta, Canada for a few weeks every summer to work on choreography with Megan Smith and former world champion, Kurt Browning. Carolina blasted onto the international scene in 2005 when she turned in a bronze medal finish at the World Championships in Moscow, beating out Michelle Kwan. Unfortunately, she was unable to medal in the European Championships that year. She has said that "the public were concentrating on me and my emotions won over."
In Torino 2006, Carolina had a great deal of pressure on her. She was deemed Italy's great hope for an Olympic skating medal. At the end of the lady's short program, Carolina found herself out of the hunt for the medals â€“ in a disappointing - 11th place after a nasty fall on a difficult jumping sequence. She did skate a clean program in the long and moved up to finish in a respectable 9th place.
Who knows? At 19, Carolina is still young enough to bring home Italy's first Olympic singles figure skating gold in Vancouver (2010). Regardless, she's a delight to watch and, you can rest assured that the whole world will be doing just that for years to come.
By Deanna Couras Goodson