FILE UNDER -- Alpine

Janica Kostelic, suffering from the flu, cancels planned welcome party in Croatia

Janica Kostelic, suffering from the flu, cancels planned welcome party in Croatia{mosimage}ZAGREB, Croatia (AP) – Janica Kostelic, who this week became the first woman in 23 years to win three ski titles at a world championships, canceled a planned welcome party in Croatia on Sunday because she wants to recuperate from the flu.

The 23-year-old Croat was grateful to officials and thousands of her home fans who planned to stage a huge welcome in Zagreb’s main square. She asked for their understanding, her spokesman, Ozren Mueller, said.

“She urgently needs to rest and recuperate and prepare for the rest of the season,” Mueller said.

Kostelic won the slalom Friday in Italy, adding to her downhill and combined titles from last week. She skipped the giant slalom this week because of a high fever and cough.

Kostelic, who stayed away from the slopes last year because of surgery to remove her thyroid gland and several knee operations, is hugely popular in Croatia.

She won three gold medals at the Salt Lake City Olympics in 2002.

-The Associated Press

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