Jackie Wiles: downhill fun


KRASNAYA POLYANA, Russia — When she got to the bottom of the run Saturday, after a time that would land her in fourth place in the third training run for Wednesday’s women’s Olympic downhill, Jackie Wiles, the 21-year-old newcomer on the team, found herself ushered along through the pen where the athletes talk to reporters and TV types, and there, hanging out with the press, was, well, Picabo. Some people might be all, like, OMG — that’s Picabo Street, maybe the greatest power and speed skier of all time.

Jackie Wiles after Saturday's sparkling downhill training run

Not Jackie Wiles. She snapped to immediately, of course, because she understood she was in the presence of American ski royalty. But the reason Jackie Wiles is now going to be racing in the downhill, and the reason she is skiing in a way that suggests she very well might throw a huge surprise on Wednesday, is that she was hardly overwhelmed — even though this was the same Picabo Street whose picture she, Jackie Wiles, used to have in her room growing up.

Politely, respectfully, she told Picabo, “I had a picture of you on my wall — obviously,” like of course it would be obvious, adding, “In middle school, when I was little.”

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