Street climbing steep road back

For Picabo Street, the climb back to her former heights is as slow as she used to ski fast.

For Picabo Street, the climb back to her former heights is as slow as she used to ski fast.

And after racing in her first downhill since shattering her left femur and shredding right knee ligaments at the World Cup finals in Crans Montana in 1998, the 28-year-old American knows it's not going to go any faster.

"It gets better every time I go down, but it's going to take awhile. I know that," said Street, who placed 24th in Saturday's downhill after finishing out of the points in 34th place in her comeback race, a super-G in Val d'Isere the previous week. "I'm just building on my confidence and pretty soon I'm hoping to get to a place where I'll do all the little things that you have to do right to do well in the downhill.

"I know what those things are but I'm not able to work on them yet because I'm not confident enough. I'm excited for the day to come where I can work all the little things out."

Though her accident occurred in Switzerland, Street apparently did not hold a grudge against the tiny alpine nation, choosing to race her first downhill - the same discipline that nearly ended her career - on Swiss snow.

"I don't like Crans Montana and I'll never ski there again, but the rest of Switzerland is wonderful," she said. "It's not so much a geographical thing, just which courses and what the weather is like there."

With the sunny weather and good light, Street's return to downhill racing was a success, the American completing the course, attacking more and finishing in the points.

"I didn't think about being afraid or waiting for the course to come to me. I kind of charged and went for the course more," said Street. "I planned what I wanted to do and I executed this plan.

"That's what I feel is a success for me today. And not being afraid and a victim to the course. I was in control of myself today."

Though it's not the first time that Street has made a comeback, this time by far has been the hardest.

Street had her first encounter with career threatening injury at the world championships in Vail in 1996, when she tore ligaments in her left knee in training after winning the downhill title, but quickly bounced back to win Olympic gold in the super-G in 1998 in Nagano, Japan.

However, only a month later in Crans Montana, another grisly accident left her with casts on both legs and unsure of her future.

Now, after more than two years spent recovering, Street is still unsure what the future holds for her and for the moment the Olympic and world champion is keeping her goals modest and within reach.

"If the light is good tomorrow, I would like to make a top-20 finish and stay in the top 20 afterwards. That's my target," said Street, showing little of the brashness she used to.

But still showing the same determination and grit, Street was anxious for a second crack at the downhill in Sunday's race.

"I want another shot at it," said Street. "I was very disappointed yesterday when we didn't have a training run because I get so much better each time I go down a downhill.

"They took one away from me yesterday and it made me a little angry but when I saw the weather I said 'okay, it's for the best.' And today, with the weather and the good light, it was more than I could ask for. If it's like this tomorrow, I know I can do much better."

Brigitte Obermoser led an Austrian sweep of the top two places in Saturday's race to clinch her first career downhill victory and silence the team's critics.

Coming back from North America with just one podium finish in two downhills - a third place by Renate Goetschl in Lake Louise - the Austrian team had been the target of scathing criticism from the national media.

But starting back in 27th place, Obermoser charged down the Corviglia I course in 1 minute, 38.68 seconds to win the downhill and prove critics wrong. The fact teammate and reigning overall World Cup champion Renate Goetschl finished runner-up in 1:39.03, only made it that much sweeter.

Canada's Emily Brydon, the 44th skier down, prevented an Austrian sweep of the top five places with a sizzling third place chrono of 1:39.11.

The young Canadian bumped Michaela Dorfmeister off the podium, the Austrian forced to settle for fourth with 1:39.15. Alexandra Meissnitzer, the 1998 overall World Cup champion, slipped to fifth in 1:39.16 and Tanja Schneider, sixth in 1:39.44.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
musicBand's first new record for 20 years has some tough acts to follow
peopleAt least it's for a worthwhile cause
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
voicesMaybe the new app will make it more normal to reach out to strangers
Liam Payne has attacked the media for reporting his tweet of support to Willie Robertson and the subsequent backlash from fans
peopleBut One Direction star insists he is not homophobic
Life and Style
healthFor Pure-O OCD sufferers this is a reality they live in
Life and Style
Sexual health charities have campaigned for the kits to be regulated
healthAmerican woman who did tells parents there is 'nothing to be afraid of'
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Pharmaceutical Computer System Validation Specialist

£300 - £350 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Pharmaceutical Computer ...

High Level Teaching Assistant (HTLA)

£70 - £90 per day: Randstad Education Birmingham: Higher Level Teaching Assist...

Teaching Assistant

£50 - £80 per day: Randstad Education Birmingham: Randstad Education is the UK...

Senior Java Developer - API's / Webservices - XML, XSLT

£400 - £450 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is currently ...

Day In a Page

A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments