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Skiing: Thanks Coach

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Outside magazine, May 1994


Skiing: Thanks Coach
By Todd Balf


Apparently those most astonished by the U.S. alpine team's performance in the Winter Olympics last February were the coaches. Case in point: After Diann Roffe-Steinrotter won the gold in the super G, Paul Major, her coach, called it "the most unbelievable thing I've seen in the history of sports." While the coach may be a little loose with his superlatives, all in all the U.S. medal run was the story during the first week of the Lillehammer Games. Twenty-three-year-old Tommy Moe of Alaska and 22-year-old Picabo Street of Idaho were prerace hopefuls, but few suspected they'd take first and second, respectively, in the downhill events. And certainly no one could have predicted that Moe would be named Earl of Alaska by Oslo's Viking Club and have a section of the Kvitfjell downhill course named after him: Moe's Channel. Not to be outdone, Sun Valley announced a ski run named after Street, its rosy-cheeked native daughter. Amidst the revelry there was even talk of the United States as an emerging alpine superpower. Similar predictions, of course, were made after the 1984 Games, when Bill Johnson won America's first downhill gold medal ever. Johnson, incidentally, soon vanished from the World Cup leader board. He now works in public relations at the Crested Butte ski resort.

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