SI Vault
Uphill Battle for a Downhill Skier
Rick Reilly
November 23, 1998
Picabo Street, the Olympic downhiller, is scared. "I'm just not sure I can be fearless anymore," she says.
Decrease font Decrease font
Enlarge font Enlarge font
November 23, 1998

Uphill Battle For A Downhill Skier

View CoverRead All Articles View This Issue
1 2

Street wants desperately to ski in the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City, but she's not sure she'll ever compete in the downhill again. At 27 something finally caught up to her—maturity. "Hey, I am where I am," she says. "I've done what I've done. I've got nothing to prove. It's called growing up, I guess. But I haven't thrown in the towel. I'm going to try it and see."

Uh-oh. The dumbest thing Street can do now is take fear to the start house. Roland Collombin of Switzerland was one of the best downhillers in the world in 1974—until he came to a bump at Val d'Is�re, flew off it wildly and wrecked his back. One year later the back had healed but his mind hadn't. Just his luck, his first downhill was at Val d'Is�re, and he came flying down to that same bump. "It was as if he was frozen with fear," says U.S. racer Steve Mahre. "He didn't make a move. He just shot off the jump, not absorbing any of it." Collombin sailed over the steep landing to the flats below, where he fell on his back, fracturing two vertebrae.

Hey, Picabo, just a friendly reminder: Sometimes the bravest race is the one you don't ski.

1 2