For Street, things go downhill after downhill LILLEHAMMER 94


RINGEBU, Norway -- It was a gallant effort by Picabo Street, but not enough to overcome a major advantage for slalom specialists.

Street, 22, from Sun Valley, Idaho, finished 10th in the women's combined race yesterday, two days after capturing a silver medal in the downhill.

Street had a time of 3 minutes, 10.15 seconds. Pernilla Wiberg won the gold medal in 3:05.16, giving Sweden its first medal of the Winter Games.

Switzerland's Vreni Schneider, a double gold medalist at the 1988 Games, won the silver in 3:05.29 and Alenka Dovzan of Slovenia was the bronze medalist at 3:06.64. It was Slovenia's first Winter Olympic medal.

Street was second after Sunday's downhill portion of the combined, but finished 14th in the two slalom races yesterday, ++ dropping her out of medal contention.

Street, whose first name (pronounced peek-a-boo) has made her a crowd favorite here, has trained in slalom only four times this year.

Both slalom times were added to the one downhill time to determine the winner for the 1994 Games, compared to a complicated point system in previous years.

"If you're a good slalom racer, you have a distinct advantage," said Street, whose two slalom times were 52.59 and 49.37 compared to a downhill time of 1:28.19. "Under the old rules, I probably would have finished in the top two.

"That's a pretty good slalom for me right now. Next year it will be a different story. I'm going to do some special training."

Monique Pelletier, 24, of Hood River, Ore., actually had a better chance than Street going into yesterday's competition even though she was No. 24 after the downhill.

Pelletier, a slalom specialist, wasn't am- ong the leaders after the downhill, but was only 1 1/2 seconds behind eventual winner Wiberg.

But, ab- out midway through Pelletier's first run yesterday, her skis hit a knoll and got crossed up in the back. Pelletier fell and tumbled down the hill about 20 feet.

Pelletier rose slowly and then began sidestepping up the hill, slowly at first and then with increasing speed, trying to get back to the point where she had fallen.

The crowd stood and roared when it realized what she was doing. "For me, that's the only way I know how to go -- 100 percent," said Pelletier, who will compete in the giant slalom and slalom races. "I have a really big advantage now being on the slalom hill before the other skiers."

Pelletier, who finished 24th in 3:38.79, tried to give Street some pointers before Street's run.

"She told me that the rhythm keeps going and as you break over the roll is where it gets more turny," said Street. "She wanted to stress that I had to stand up coming off the flats and into the pitch. It helped a lot because, knowing me, I would have been sitting back coming off the flats."

Wiberg, who won a gold medal in the giant slalom at the Albertville Games, was motivated by the presence of the king and queen of Sweden. As she skied across the finish line, King Carl XVI Gustaf shouted from the grandstand and thrust his fist into the air, while Queen Silvia, dressed in a full-length fur coat and fur hat, applauded wildly.

"I wanted to show them I could win," said Wiberg, who had two of the three fastest slalom times yesterday.

Copyright © 2019, The Baltimore Sun, a Baltimore Sun Media Group publication | Place an Ad