Street to Skip World Cups
Picabo Street Focuses on Recovery for February Olympics
Picabo Street Picabo Street
Wednesday, November 19 1997

The USās gold medal hopeful, Picabo Street has decided not to race in the World Cup downhills in either Lake Louise or Mammoth as she continues to recover from a torn AC (anterior cruciate) ligament in her left knee.

"She knows she could use a little more training," Tom Kelly, vice president of the US Ski and Snowboard Association, said Wednesday. "Itās not much of a surprise." Street is focusing on the February Olympic Games and therefore does not want to chance coming back too early for the World Cups.

"Sheās doing pretty well, sheās strong, but still needs more snow time," Kelly said. Having spent the last 10 days with Street in Beaver Creek, Colorado, where she has been training since Nov. 1, Kelly says she is not disappointed. "If this was a year where the World Cup title was the focus, itād be different," he said.

Street had a "good check up" with famed knee specialist Dr. Richard Steadman, of Vail, Colorado, last week and basically she and her coaches decided she just needs to "catch up" with the rest of the team after having returned to the snow in July. "itās a 100% recovery situation," Kelly said.

Recovery from reconstructive knee surgeries vary. Ski team member Kyle Rasmussen, has come back quickly after suffering the injury in January while Tommy Moe took almost two years to come back full strength.

Street planned to leave Beaver Creek Wednesday and will alternate training individually with the top womenās coaches, Kelly said.The 25 year-old World Downhill Champion's season ended Dec. 6, 1996 when she fell on Pepi's Face at Vail, CO. Street had been leading the timed practice run 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.

"Sheās skiing well. She just needs more snow days," Kelly said. "Itās really hard to come back in less than a year."— Sarah Love, Mountain Zone Staff

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