The Swiss in general and Pirmin Zurbriggen in particular (page 46) are capable of laying waste everything in their path, leaving behind Alpine devastation as vast as if Mount Allan had been hit by a monster avalanche. But common sense—to say nothing of the law of averages—dictates that there will be a less one-sided distribution of precious metal at these Olympics. The grand uplift of the home-country crowd should do wonders for Canadian downhillers, especially those who have already shown world-class skills, such as Rob Boyd and Laurie Graham. Alberto Tomba (at left), the previously unheralded Italian phenomenon who won five of his first six World Cup slalom and giant slalom races this season, and Marc Girardelli (page 50), the previously very much heralded Austrian who skis for Luxembourg, will probably spoil Zurbriggen's run for wall-to-wall gold medals.
Of the women medal contenders who are not Swiss, the best is Yugoslavia's Mateja Svet, 19, who won three medals at the 1987 world championships. Stealing in from the south is Blanca Fernandez Ochoa, 24, a member of the Spanish family of skiers that, 16 years ago, produced the gold medal winner in the men's slalom at Sapporo, Francisco Fernandez Ochoa. For what is possibly the first time since the Winter Olympics began, no Austrian, male or female, seems likely to win a gold medal. And no American, male or female, is favored for a medal of any metal. Bill Johnson and Debbie Armstrong, who both won gold in 1984, are out of the running now.