Publish date:

The Other Americans: Keen Blades and Cautious Hopes


Power in figure and speed skating and an approach to respectability elsewhere—those are the American prospects in events other than Alpine skiing. With World Champion Peggy Fleming and the first topflight figure-skating team since the air disaster of 1961 go such bright speed skaters as Illinois' 16-year-old Diane Holum (right). But Americans have always been good skaters. This year even the perennial losers in Nordic skiing and the rest are perking up, and while they won't beat the Russians or the Scandinavians they could bring home a medal or two. "Given a good day on the big hill," says Nordic Coach Al Merrill, "our jumpers could come through. For the first time a U.S. medal is possible."

Favored to be our first feminine speed-skating gold medalist, Diane Holum should take the 500 meters

Supine sliding by Oregon's Mike Hessel, 25, promises some success in luging, an East German specialty.

Dark sled, dark horse: but the bob driven by Bill Hickey of Keeseville, N.Y, has the speed to win.

Against Norwegians who shoot straighter and ski faster, biathlon man Bill Spencer can only gain experience.

Nordic events have meant wipe-out for Americans. Now there is a chance for combined skier John Bower (left) and jumpers John Balfanz and Adrian Watt (above).

The brightest blades from the U.S. since Squaw Valley, our figure-skating team has solid gold in Peggy Fleming (seated). Cynthia Kauffman and brother Ronald (center) are good for a bronze in pairs, while Tim Wood (left) or Gary Visconti (right) could take a silver or bronze.