Picabo Street won her first ski race when she was only six. She won her first gold medal in the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano, Japan. She has been called the greatest downhill skier in American history. Picabo was born in Triumph, Idaho, in 1971. Triumph is near Sun Valley, Idaho, and that is where she learned to ski and race. She was named after a town near Triumph called Picabo. Picabo is a Native American word that means "shining waters."
Picabo joined the Olympic Ski Team in 1989 at the age of seventeen. Five years later, she won her first Olympic medal (silver) in the downhill. In 1995, she won the World Cup in downhill. This made her the first American ever to win a World Cup season title in a speed event. Three years later, she won the gold medal in the 1998 Winter Olympics. Shortly after winning the title, she broke her leg while skiing in Switzerland. She also tore the ligament in her right knee. She was unable to ski for the next two years.