Sunday, January 6, 2002
Street wins third straight World Cup title
By Bob Phillips
Special to ESPN.com
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
Picabo won her first World Cup downhill race in December 1994.
She has appeared on American Gladiators and Sesame Street (where she played "peekaboo" with Elmo).
Her nickname is "Peek."
Her favorite sport to watch (other than skiing) is stock-car racing.
Her favorite sport to play (other than skiing) is volleyball.
Picabo's favorite athletes are Gabrielle Reece, Michael Jordan, Charles Barkley, Andre Agassi, Troy Aikman and Alberto Tomba.
Street has a trail -- Picabo's Street -- named after her at Sun Valley, where Street began her skiing career.
She finished 10th in the Super-G at the 1994 Winter Olympics.
In 1999, Picabo became Director of Skiing at the Park City Mountain Resort, 35 miles from Salt Lake City.
Picabo has many sponsorship deals, including Nike, Sprint, Chapstick and Spyder ski gear.
Her brother, Roland, was first named "Baby Boy." His nickname is "Baba."
Street was named Nike's first female winter-sport athlete, and she has a signature Nike sneaker.
She also has her own line of women's and children's ski gear made by Spyder.
Picabo served as host of The Danger Zone, a TV series on the Outdoor Life Network that focuses on non-traditional sports such as mountain boarding, kite buggying, bicycle polo and hang gliding.
She is engaged to ski technician John Mulligan, whom she met during her 2000 comeback. "I pretty much fell in love with him the minute I saw him," she said.
Street has published a biography: "Picabo, Nothing To Hide."
Picabo has a career total of 11 World Cup wins and six second-place finishes.
She currently resides in Park City, Utah.