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Alpine Skiing Sunday, 24 February, 2002, 20:02 GMT
Skiing taken to a new level
Janica Kostelic won four medals for Croatia
Janica Kostelic won four medals for Croatia
BBC Sport's skiing expert Martin Bell looks back at some of the highlights of an action-packed alpine programme in Salt Lake City.

The new equipment available in skiing is now seeing competitors negotiate corners with far more speed than ever before.

In some ways the equipment, because it is so much better, is also less forgiving - one mistake and you can flip over on your back.

But for those who have managed to adapt there is no doubt that this Games has taken the sport to a new level.

Janica Kostelic's achievement of four medals in alpine skiing events was certainly one of the highlights of the entire Olympics.

And it was perhaps her silver in the super-G that was the key moment for her.


Bode Miller has outperformed the rest of the US team and has salvaged a certain amount of respectability for them.

That was an indication that she was about more than just being a slalom skier and that she was actually going to dominate across the board.

Elsewhere, the men's slalom on the penultimate day of the Games will also last long in the memory.

No-one would begrudge France the glory of ending the Olympics with a 1-2 after the tragic Regine Cavagnoud accident at the start of the season.

Miller's anguish

Everyone feels nothing but happiness for France after Jean-Pierre Vidal and Sebastien Amiez took the gold and silver.

Vidal's success was less of a surprise than many people are saying.

He has been there or thereabouts all season.

But Amiez getting the silver was far more of a shock.

He had looked like he was struggling to come to terms with the new equipment and techniques earlier in the season, but it all came good for him on the day.

Then there was disappointment for Bode Miller.

He should not be too hard on himself though. If somebody had said to him before the Games that he would come away with two silvers then I think he would have taken that.

Britain's Alain Baxter
Baxter capped a fine alpine Games for Britain

He has also outperformed the rest of the US ski team and has salvaged a certain amount of respectability for them.

For Britain, the Games has certainly been a success.

Alain Baxter's bronze put the icing on the cake.

But Chemmy Alcott and Ross Green also showed they have talent across the board.

They will still be unsure as to exactly what their best event is.

But one thing is for sure. Once they decide - on the back of Baxter's success - they should now get the support they need in order to make the breakthrough.

 THE BAXTER STORY
Alain Baxter loses his bronze medal for failing a drug test

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