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Bode Miller’s two medals were the only ones won by the entire U.S. alpine team, and his silvers in giant slalom and the combined were the first U.S. men’s medals ever in those events. He was “in a class by himself” marveled Kjetil Andre Aamodt, only the most successful racer in Olympic history. However, the most-compelling praise? In Austria, Bode may now be more popular than Hermann Maier.
Croatian Janica Kostelic accomplished nothing less than winning more medals (four) at a single Olympics than any alpine racer in history. Problem: What does the 20-year-old do for an encore?
Lord Of The Rings
Ross Powers, Danny Kass and J.J. Thomas waxed the world in the men’s halfpipe, taking all three medals. The only other U.S. sweep in Winter Olympic history was iced in 1956 by the men’s figure skaters, dressed in much tighter clothes.
Bill Marolt, U.S. Ski & Snowboard Team president and CEO, made good on his gutsy pledge to win 10 medals in Salt Lake. But the alpine medal count for anyone not named Miller? Zero.
out of focus
Descente’s “concentration coat” allegedly helps racers focus. No surprise that its designer won an Academy Award for costumes in Bram Stoker’s Dracula. The coat was used by the Swiss, Canadian and Spanish alpine teams, which won one medal between them.
The gold medal for hypocrisy goes to boarding guru Jake Burton, who fought snowboarding’s inclusion in the Olympics, then hopped on the five-ring bandwagon when the halfpipe event turned out to be the sport’s single biggest success. The boarding lesson with Katie Couric on the Today Show was special.
fill ‘er up
If you couldn’t drink your fill at the Games, you were either too young, too ignorant or too lazy.
stay in the air
Australian aerial gold-medalist Alisa Camplin can do more mid-air twists than Flipper, but can’t ski a lick. The former gymnast fell down while skiing to her lodge with her victory flowers in hand.
Take a bow
Post 9/11 security problems? None. The fear of a “Mormon Olympics”? Ridiculous. A teetotaler’s Games? Not a chance. Salt Lake City proved its critics wrong by hosting a world-class party.
The most-recognized U.S.racer of her generation, Picabo enjoyed her Salt Lake swan song, even if she finished 16th in her final race. In the end, she bowed out as she started: in-your-face, confident and literally embraced by her fans.
Bringing home a full set of medals (gold, silver, bronze), Austria’s Stephan Eberharter finally skied out of the large shadow of teammate Hermann Maier. Bode Miller called him a “racer’s racer.” By winning this year’s overall World Cup title, Eberharter removed any doubt: He’s the best skier in the world.
what was I thinking?
The “USA 2002” Olympic beret quickly became the Tickle Me Elmo of the Winter Games. Buyers waited hours to snag the $20 souvenir. After the Games, the berets instantly became nifty car-waxing rags back home.
The Dinner Roll
Irrepressible Jonny Moseley, defending freestyle gold medalist, didn’t land on the podium, but his barely legal “Dinner Roll” did annoy the stodgy FIS¿and push the boundaries of the sport he loves. As with all things Moseley, you get a lot of ham with that Dinner Roll.
The fastest route to cult-hero status in conservative Utah? Show a little cleavage and start hawking beer. St. Provo Girl model Alise Ingrid Liepnieks gets the last laugh. Her suds modeling will help put her through the University of Utah, and sales of St. Provo Girl beer are up 35 percent.