SKIING: Schuuuusss!

In Lillehammer, Alpine skiing kicks off with an unexpected but refreshing American accent

More than a century ago, the Norwegian dramatist Henrik Ibsen hiked down the mountain range at Kvitfjell. It was, he recalled in his play Peer Gynt, akin to riding a wild buck through "the wide and dizzy void."

Last week Diann Roffe-Steinrotter could identify with that. Clad in skintight purple spandex at the starting gate of the Olympic course, the diminutive (5 ft. 4 in.) racer from Potsdam, New York, gazed down the ice- glazed slope to the distant valley below. In the Arctic chill, a kaleidoscopic blur of 40,000 snowsuits gazed back through a vast video screen. "I was sick-to-my-stomach...

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