As experts pick favorites to win Olympic gold, no one is crazy enough to pick Picabo Street. Then again, no one is crazy enough to rule her out.
Off skis for two years after devastating injuries suffered at the end of the '97-'98 season, the former Olympic, World Cup and world champion returned to action last season. Her World Cup results were less than scintillating: 24th, 46th, 35th, 15th, DNF, DNF, and so on. A seventh in a downhill in Lenzerheide, Switzerland, was encouraging, though not exactly something on which to pin hopes for Olympic glory.
And yet, she did win a late-season downhill in the Super Series, a kind of U.S.-based minor league for the major-league World Cup. Normally, that's not especially newsworthy for someone of Street's stature -- kind of like Barry Bonds homering in a sandlot ballgame. But the win came on the Olympic downhill course at Snowbasin against a World Cup-caliber field. "It fits in the big picture as a huge milestone," says Picabo.
"I believe in myself, which is not to be argued with," she adds. In other words, don't rule her out.