Now was the moment. It was time for Killy, and what could he do with the things on his mind, and with the enormous performance expected by his countrymen below, and with Col de la Balme, which was already shaking even the best apart, waiting for him?
"When I knew I had only to beat P�rillat," he said, somewhat undiplomatically, one felt, "I knew I would win."
Never has Killy exploded from a starting gate faster. He absolutely dived out, skating downward and shoving with his poles. "He got one second on the start alone," said G�rard Rubaud, one of his close chums and equipment keepers. Around the hairpin Killy fought for more speed rather than merely holding steady as the others had done. In a series of S turns at the middle, he slashed and carved and skated. He took Col de la Balme with two neat prejumps as if he were giving an exhibition, and by this time he had the race won. He was faster than anyone through the tough part by a second or two, and P�rillat had managed to make it seem so close—two ski lengths, let's say—only because of the smoother course he benefitted by.
So there was Killy at the bottom, triumphant Killy—immortal, cuddly Killy—grinning at the world through cameras and saying, "I knew I would win, of course. I used to win the downhills, no? I took the line I wanted and passed very well, no?"
Yes, Jean-Claude. But you ruined the ending for Avery and all the gang. Listen, after the slalom you've got to mention that your Dynamics really held the turns, that your Nevada bindings were super and that your Le Trappeur boots were swell, and—well, everything will be even more downhill after that.