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For the week of Dec. 29, 1999 through Jan. 4, 2000

Street to be named Idaho athlete of the century


By GREG STAHL
Express Staff Writer

Picabo Street will be in Boise today and tomorrow accepting the accolade of Idaho’s top female athlete of the century.

Street, 28, who was born in Triumph, Idaho, and learned to ski in Sun Valley won gold and silver medals, in the 1998 and 1994 Winter Olympics, respectively, skiing the super giant slalom and downhill events. She’s also won a slew of World Cup events in her career.

The decision to give Street the award—to be held at the Boise Center—was made by public vote, conducted by the World Sports Humanitarian Hall of Fame.

Baseball Hall-of-Fame member Harmon Killebrew, who was born in Payette in 1936 and went on to win six American League home run titles with the Minnesota Twins, was voted Idaho’s male athlete of the century.

Street, who joined the U.S. Ski Team in 1989 at age 17, became the only American skier to ever win a World Cup downhill championship.

Unfortunately, she broke her left femur in March 1998 when she took a spill in the final World Cup downhill of the season in Crans Montana, Switzerland. Her plans for a comeback to the ski racing world were questionable.

On Monday, however, Street again lit to the slopes, one of her new duties as director of skiing for Park City Mountain Resort in Utah.

Park City communications director Melissa O’Brien said it was the first time Street skied following her injury. O’Brien, in fact, had just returned from skiing with Street when the Idaho Mountain Express called.

O’Brien said Street has her sights set on competing in the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City, if she can make a successful comeback from her injury.

According to the Dec. 28, 1994, issue of the Idaho Mountain Express, Street had a difficult time reaching public acclaim prior to her 1994 silver medal win in Lillehammer, Norway. Her ski racing achievements were numerous, but she hadn’t achieved a big breakthrough.

Following her 1994 silver finish, the world sat up and took notice of the outspoken, congenial, young ski racer.

"She triumphed—on steep slopes, in front of cameras and microphones, on various stages, before countless audiences," Idaho Mountain Express sports editor Jeff Cordes reported.

A month following her breakthrough, she began collecting the spoils of victory. Approximately, 2,000 people welcomed her home at Sun Valley resort, where company officials gave her a lifetime ski pass and renamed a Bald Mountain ski run (Plaza) "Picabo’s Street."

Additionally, the cities of Ketchum and Hailey took advantage of obvious opportunities and named local thoroughfares "Picabo Street."

 

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