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For the week of February 13 - 19, 2002


Davis helps carry torch in to Salt Lake

Paralympian races in mid-March

Express Staff Writer

For a few minutes last week, Sun Valley native and Paralympian Muffy Davis was the only person in the world carrying the Olympic torch closer to its final destination in Salt Lake City.

Sun Valley native and Paralympian Muffy Davis chats Monday with Idaho Gov. Dirk Kempthorne during the first of two "Idaho Days" at the Western States Discovery Center in downtown Salt Lake City. Express photo by Greg Stahl

Being a torch bearer was "a huge honor," said Davis, who was asked personally by Salt Lake Organizing Committee President Mit Romney.

"The thing that hit me the most—they told us that at that moment that you’re carrying the flame, you’re the only person in the whole world bringing it to Salt Lake City. The Olympics are waiting for you," she said.

Davis, who has lived in Park City for the past two years to train for her second Paralympic bid, was one of famed downhiller Picabo Street’s childhood rivals. The two girls used to push each other as they raced down Sun Valley’s Bald Mountain.

"We were going to go to the Olympics together. We were going to wow the world," said Street, who also was honored to carry the Olympic torch on its final leg in Salt Lake City.

Street and gold medal hockey player Cammi Granato carried the torch at the conclusion of the opening ceremonies and passed it to the 1980 gold medal USA Hockey Team that lit the Olympic cauldron.

By the time Davis was 16, both girls were ranked nationally, and some coaches said Davis had an edge. Whatever edge she might have had evaporated in 1989 when she caught an edge and slammed into one tree, then another.

She broke the T-6 vertebra in her back and shattered the helmet she’d borrowed from Street.

When she regained consciousness, she was paralyzed.

At first Davis tried to forget skiing, but when she saw Street win Olympic silver in Lillehammer, Norway, she knew she had to give ski racing another shot.

At the 1998 games in Nagano, Davis was again hot on Street’s ski tails, meddling in the Paralympics on the same slope that Street had won Olympic gold a few weeks before. And she hasn’t let up since.

Street placed 16th in the downhill Tuesday at Snowbasin in what she has said will be her final Olympic race.

Davis will race again March 8, 11, 14 and 16 at the Paralympics at Snowbasin.

And she still has kind words for her home state.

"Idaho will always be home. I really feel a strong Idaho presence," she said. "All the athletes do. Thank you very much."


The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.