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Kristina Koznick

Alpine skiing

When Kristina Koznick was around 11 years old, she wrote down a list of goals for her life. One of them was to marry Joe Montana. Another was to drive a Porsche. A third was to meet a movie star, preferably Mel Gibson. And yet another was to raise a family.

“I haven’t met Mel Gibson,” Koznick said with a laugh on a brisk Tuesday afternoon in Nagano. “And I haven’t met Joe Montana, let alone married him. I don’t have a Porsche.

And I said I wanted to have a family and I don’t have that yet.”

All is not lost, however. Because while Koznick was tallying her list of failed adolescent goals, she was sitting just outside Nagano’s Central Square, site of a nightly public ceremony for each day’s Olympic medalists. She hopes to be standing inside the square soon, wearing a medal around her neck and hearing cheers from the thousands who gather each night (and hearing, just perhaps, “The Star-Spangled Banner” as well). And there’s an excellent chance she will.

For there was one more goal Koznick wrote down 11 years ago in her Burnsville, Minn., home. That she wanted to compete in the Olympics. And she will do just that tonight in the women’s slalom as a medal favorite.

And not only that, just the other day she received a package from a supporter. Inside was a signed photo of Joe Montana, wishing Koznick good luck in the slalom.

Now if only Mel would call.

At age 22, Koznick has returned to recording her goals, writing them down in a journal. Sometimes she writes down where she wants to finish, sometimes not. It depends on how she feels.

She now feels skiing is simply a bonus in her life, something fun. And with that new outlook, relative health and renewed goals, has come success. Koznick is second overall in slalom World Cup points this season, finishing twice two times, fourth three times and winning her final race before the Olympics.