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US SKIER TOPS MOGUL MARQUEE

Europeans, weaned at the base of chairlifts, often are the stars of Alpine skiing. In the freestyle events, though, no one has determined what a traditional background is, least of all Donna Weinbrecht, winner of the moguls competition.

Weinbrecht has emerged from what is decidedly not ski country: New Jersey. "As a kid I wanted to go to the Olympics because I loved figure skating," she says. "But my mom didn't want to drive me to a rink and back, so skiing became the family sport."

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Donna, a former art school student, became an avid freestyler and discovered her exceptional ability in moguls, an official Olympic medal event for the first time this year. The object is to negotiate a short run of wall-to-wall bumps as stylishly and speedily as possible, making two acrobatic jumps en route.

Weinbrecht considers herself "blessed" that she has hit her skiing stride just as the moguls has achieved Olympic stature.