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Throwback: Emotional slalom one-two for Mahre twins in Sarajevo

FEB 1984:  PHIL MAHRE OF THE U.S.A. SKIING IN THE MENS SLALOM EVENT AT THE 1984 WINTER OLYMPICS IN SARAJEVO, YUGOSLAVIA.

February 19, 1984

Phil Mahre was born just four minutes before twin Steve, but the gap between them was infinitely smaller – a mere 0.21 seconds – when it came to the pair skiing for Olympic gold at Sarajevo 1984.

Steve initially set the pace on the opening run of the slalom course in the former Yugoslavia with a massive half-second lead over Sweden’s Jonas Nilsson, with brother Phil 0.7 seconds off the leading time.

When Nilsson fluffed his lines with a poor run, it became a matter of which brother would take home the gold.

The first-born twin moved himself into first place with just Steve to go. But the younger of the two siblings, seemingly affected by the enormity of the occasion as the man to beat, endured a second run littered with mistakes, in contrast to what had been a near faultless first run.

In so doing, it still proved a one-two for the twins – emotional enough in itself.

The tears flowed even more in the television interview afterwards when the newly crowned gold medallist was informed that his wife Holly had given birth to a baby boy – the couple’s second child – just an hour before the start of the race. The news had understandably been kept quiet from him until after his run to the gold.

The 1984 gold medallist, who had won silver in the slalom four years previously behind Ingemar Stenmark, was one of the most successful ski racers in American World Cup history, his 27 World Cup victories putting him behind only Lindsey Vonn, Bode Miller and Mikaela Shiffrin.

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The Mahre brothers, who both opted to retire shortly after the Games at the age of 26, teamed up the year after their Olympic success to pen their autobiography, No Hill Too Fast, telling their journey to the top.

Together, they still run a ski school in Utah, and enjoyed some forays as motor-racing drivers for a time.

 

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