Kari Traa is definitively one of the biggest all-time stars in the moguls event in freestyle skiing. During her 17-year career from 1990 to 2007 she won 37 World Cup competitions, four World Championship gold medals and one Olympic gold medal from Salt Lake City in 2002. In addition she won one silver and one bronze Olympic medal and three silver medals from the World Championships, adding nine national titles in the period 1995-2006.
Kari Traa made her first international appearance in 1990, aged 16, at the World Cup in La Clusaz, France and placed 20th. In 1991 she was a bronze medalist in the Junior World Championships. At the 1992 Winter Olympics in Albertville she did not qualify for the final, and three weeks before the 1994 Lillehammer games injured her knee and she was not able to participate, to her great disappointment. Her first World Cup victory came in January 1997 when she won two competitions in North America. After her bronze medal at Nagano in 1998 she won silver medals in both moguls and dual moguls at the 1999 World Championships, and in 2001 won her first international championships by winning both events at the World Championships in Whistler, Canada. Two years later she did the same in Deer Valley, USA, while in the year between she won her Olympic gold in Salt Lake City. She decided to continue her career until the 2006 Torino Olympics, where she won silver, after doing the same at the 2005 World Championships in Ruka, Finland. Her autobiography Kari was published in the autumn of 2006, and she did not compete in the World Cup in the 2006-07 season. She was, however, persuaded to compete at the 2007 World Championships in Madonna di Campiglio, Italy, where she finished her skiing career with an 11th place.
Kari Traa started a clothing company, Kari Traa Ltd., in 2002, selling sports clothes, and did well. After her retirement from competition she started a project to recruit young talents to freestyle skiing, and she is also engaged in the festival Ekstremsportveko (Extreme Sports Week) in her hometown Voss. She is very popular in the media, frequently appearing in TV and news magazines.
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