Street wins third straight World Cup title
Winter Olympic Games
Feb. 11, 1998 -- Coming into the Olympics, Picabo Street had but one goal: to win a gold medal. Surprisingly, she realized her dream in the Super G -- the super giant slalom -- a race that requires the speed of a downhill racer combined with agility to negotiate gates. As dominant as Picabo had been in the downhill, she had never won a Super G in World Cup competition.
But that all changed at the 1998 Winter Olympics. At the age of 26, Picabo ignored persistent headaches and a stiff neck, the result of an injury suffered 11 days earlier. Decked out in a shocking-orange Bengal tiger helmet and hot-melon-colored suit, a diamond stud in her right ear, and wearing downhill skis (about three inches longer than Super G skis), Street, skiing carefully, took one of her first turns too wide, making her airborne and costing a fraction of a second. Angry at herself, Picabo turned on the jets and skied with her trademark reckless abandon the rest of the way. When she crossed the finish line, Street had won the race by the slimmest margin in Olympic history -- one one hundredth of a second -- over Austria's Michaela Dorfmeister.
Picabo was presented her cherished gold medal by the legendary Jean-Claude Killy, a childhood hero who had won three gold medals at the 1968 Olympics. "Since I was 10, I wanted a gold medal," she said of her crowning achievement, an affirmation of mind over matter. "I got it. I knew it was only a matter of time before the spirits would come through."
Odds 'n' Ends