It is tempting to say that they brought out the best in each other, but in fact it was Orser who brought out the best in Boitano. Boitano owes him for that. Orser pushed Boitano to a level that he otherwise might not have attained, and as he did so, the two of them elevated the level of the entire sport. It happens that way sometimes—and it could happen again next month in the world championships in Budapest—but there is something extra special when it happens in the Olympic Games. "All week I'd been seeing bobsledders and lugers who told me, 'Come on, you've got to win the gold for us,' " said Boitano, a 24-year-old from the San Francisco area. "And you really do feel that it's the whole country's medal, that you're sharing it with everyone. I've never been so proud to be an American."