Street's Back with a Vengeance
Seizinger Takes Five in a Row
Picabo Street Picabo Street
Thursday, December 18, 1997

It's a two-in-one story, it's just the headline that's hard to figure out. Picabo Street Finishes in Top-10 in First Race Since '96 Accident! or Katja Seizinger Wins Fifth Consecutive World Cup!

Either way, it was a momentous day in women's skiing in Val d'Isere, France, yesterday.

Street, tied for 10th in this World Cup downhill, her first race since blowing out her knee in a 1996 crash.

"I wanted a top-10 today and I got it. That makes me happy. It's good to be back racing," Street said. Earlier in the day, Street said, she had reservations that the weather would allow her return. "The winds made things difficult," she said. "When we went down to breakfast, it was stormy. It really didn't hit me until I was at the start and Cookie [Rossignol technician Mike Kairys] said, 'The race is on' and I thought, 'Wow, it is. Let's go!' It's good to be back."

Katja Seizinger Katja Seizinger

And Seizinger, of Germany, took the win yesterday, making it her fifth consecutive with three downhills and two Super-Gs. She finished today's race with a two-run time of 2:1.82, beating teammate Hilde Gerg by nearly a half second.

Street was scheduled to make her comeback at Val d'Isere Dec. 11, but rain forced two postponements and were twice moved, to Veysonnaz, Switzerland and back again. The women haven't raced since the Lake Louise Super-G Dec. 6.

She opted to not enter the Lake Louise or Mammoth World Cups and instead chose to increase her "on snow" days to catch up with the rest of the US Ski team in preparation for February's Olympic Games. Street spent most of November in individual training at Colorado resorts Vail and Copper Mountain.

Street's last attempt at competition was Dec. 6, 1996. Leading the timed practice run that day, she fell on Pepi's Face at Vail, CO., when she sat back coming onto the steep, final pitch of the 2.6km course and lost her balance in the air. She tumbled 200 feet before smashing into the retaining fence.

Along with extensive damage to cartilage and several ligaments in her left knee, her Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) was completely severed. A common skiing injury, the ACL is torn when the lower leg is suddenly forced forward while the knee is bent -- as when a skier's weight is too far back while the ski and boot are propelled forward by momentum or a jump landed off-balance.

Her left knee "isn't an issue at all," Street said. "I don't even think about it anymore. Really, it's been a year since I did this but it doesn't seem like that long. Not much has changed."The "sprint" downhill, the first women's race at the 42nd Criterium of the Snow, was a pickup from Veysonnaz, Switzerland. Today, the women compete in a super G which was postponed from last week in Val d'Isere.— Sarah Love, Mountain Zone Staff

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