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This Street Is Paved With Gold

Skiing: Silver medalist in 1994 Olympics becomes the first American woman to win downhill at World Championships.

February 19, 1996|From Associated Press

SIERRA NEVADA, Spain — Picabo Street, a silver medalist in the downhill at the 1994 Olympics, did even better at the World Championships on Sunday.

Street became the first American woman to win the event at the World Championships, leading a superb showing by the U.S. team. Hilary Lindh finished third and Megan Gerety was fifth.

Street, who won the World Cup downhill title last season, easily beat runner-up Katja Seizinger of Germany. After the race, she posed for photographs with her foot planted on top of her helmet, which was painted to look like a world globe.

"At first I was going to leave it on my head and say I was on top of the world, but then I decided to stand on it," she said.

Street was kicked off the U.S. team in 1990 by then-coach Paul Major for being unruly and out of shape. But she rejoined the team after three months of rigorous dry-land training with her mother and father in Hawaii.

"They were the hardest three months of my life but the best three months of my life," she said. "I found myself . . . what I was physically and mentally capable of."

Street took advantage of the unusually long, relatively flat high-altitude course where gliding and precise turns were needed--a run perfectly suited to the North Americans and not so much to the more technical Seizinger.

"I think the hill was suited to us," said Lindh, who won a World Cup downhill on this course two years ago and a silver medal in the 1992 Olympic downhill.

Street finished in 1 minute 54.06 seconds. Seizinger was timed in 1:54.63 and Lindh in 1:54.70.

Defending champion Kate Pace Lindsay of Canada was fourth.

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