Seven years of bad luck finally came to an end for Diann Roffe.
In 1985, as a 17-year-old racer completely unknown in Europe, she won a gold medal in the World Alpine Skiing Championships at Bormio, Italy.
And that almost became The Diann Roffe Story, no Chapter 2, no sequel.
But on a sunny, blue-sky Wednesday, Roffe took out all her frustrations on the giant-slalom course as she skied her way to a silver medal behind Pernilla Wiberg of Sweden.
"I knew it was in me to do this," she said, trying to fight back tears of happiness in the finish area. "After all the down times, I'm back. It's everyone's dream to win an Olympic medal. I tried telling myself, "Just ski your best,' but damn it, that medal has been my dream.
"It's been seven long years. When I look at all the down times I've had, and every hour that I put in to come back All I can do is cry."
Roffe was ninth after the first run, 1.05 seconds behind the leader, Ulrike Maier of Austria.
"I thought I might have given away too much time," Roffe said.
Two other Americans were actually faster than Roffe in the first run: Julie Parisien of Auburn, Maine, was fifth, 0.74 back, and Eva Twardokens of Santa Cruz, Calif., was sixth, 0.87 out.
Roffe was the first U.S. racer to make her second run, and she smoked it, moving into the lead with a total time of 2:13.71.
At one point, the top three names on the scoreboard were American: 1-Roffe, 2-Parisien, 3-Twardokens.
Only two skiers were able to catch Roffe. Austria's Anita Wachter matched Roffe's time, so they were assured of a medal, its color depending on what happened to Wiberg and Ulrike Maier of Austria. The Swede made the fastest second run, 1:06.38 _ just 0.12 better than Roffe's sizzler _ and her total time of 2:12.74 dropped Roffe and Wachter into second place. But Maier came up .06 short, so the medals stayed silver.
Parisien ended up fifth despite slamming her mouth into a gate, and Twardokens was seventh.
Among the favorites, defending Olympic champion Vreni Schneider broke a pole and failed to finish the first run; Deborah Compagnoni, who won the super-giant slalom Tuesday, fell and tore a ligament in her left knee, finishing her season; and combined winner Petra Kronberger fell on the first run.
German takes gold
LES SAISIES, France _ Germany's Antje Misersky, who won two silver medals last week, finally struck gold when she won the 15-kilometer title with a time of 51 minutes 47.2 seconds, with only one shooting penalty.
Svetlana Pecherskaia of the Unified Team took the silver, and Canadian Myriam Bedard became the first North American to win an Olympic medal in the event, taking the bronze.