To an outsider, skier Picabo Street’s rise to the top of the Olympic podium might have looked easy. A natural athlete who qualified for the U.S. National team at just 18, Street raced like she was born with skies on her feet. But her inspiring success and ensuing ski-icon status did not come without its trials and tribulations. What has the Olympic gold medalist been up to since she last raced in 2002? Read on to find out.
Born on April 3, 1971, in Triumph, Idaho, Street was known as simply "Baby Girl" for the first few years of her life. Her parents later gave her the name Picabo (the name of a nearby town), when she needed something official for her passport.
Growing up near Sun Valley, a popular ski area, Street hit the slopes at an early age. A naturally talented downhill competitor, she was awarded a grant from the WSF Travel & Training Fund in 1985 after showing incredible promise as a young skier. Just a year later in 1986, Street qualified for the U.S. Junior Ski team at 15. Three years later in 1989, she made the U.S. National Ski Team. Primarily competing in the speed events of downhill and super G, Street made her World Cup debut in a slalom race on December 6, 1992.
By the end of 1992, Street was ranked eighth in the world. Two years later in Lillehammer, she had her first taste of Olympic success, securing a silver medal in the downhill competition. Also in 1994, Street became the first American woman to win the World Cup women’s downhill competition. She earned the top spot again in downhill at the World Cup in 1996, but quickly endangered her dreams of Olympic gold when she injured her knee during a training run.
The recovery process- which included surgery and physical therapy -was long and difficult, but Street made it back to fighting form in time for the 1998 Winter Olympics. All her hard work paid off. She won the gold medal in the Super G event.
Just a few months after achieving the highest high any athlete can achieve, Street careened off course while racing at the final downhill of the 1998 season at Crans-Montana, Switzerland. She crashed and snapped her left femur into two and tore a ligament in her right knee. Street was in rehabilitation for two years following the accident; many people remember her crash as one of the most horrific in skiing history.
Once again, Street fought back from the brink and returned to ski racing in late 2000, and retired from international competition after the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, where she finished 16th in the downhill.
Street is now retired and splits her time between homes in Alabama and Park City, Utah.
In the late 1990s, after her success at the 1998 Winter Olympics, Street became a spokeswoman for a variety of products, including the soft drink Mountain Dew and ChapStick-brand lip balm. She also appeared on Celebrity Paranormal Project.
She wrote an autobiography in 2001 titled Picabo: Nothing to Hide. In it, Street reveals the pressures placed on her by her sponsors to succeed and win, which she maintains contributed to her devastating 1998 crash. She also writes of how she was able to transform from a rebellious tomboy into a world-class athlete.
Her first son, Treyjan James Pawley was born in August 2004. On October 25, 2008, she married businessman John Reeser atop Prospect Mountain, near Hanceville, Alabama.On August 3, 2009, Picabo gave birth to her second son, Dax Meyer Street Reeser, in Birmingham.
In 2012, Street was the runner up in the NBC celebrity reality competition series Stars Earn Stripes, where she competed against other celebrities like Dara Toress and WSF Past President Laila Ali.