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Clark gunning for redemption

A class picture of the U.S. Ski Team would have Kirsten Clark in the back, waving at the camera, making sure no one forgets her.

The star of the team, and rightly so, is Picabo Street - already a gold medalist at the Nagano Olympics. It's easy to overlook someone like Clark, one of the U.S. team's brightest young talents.But the 20-year-old from Raymond, Maine, didn't come just to gain experience. She's chasing medals like everyone else.

"When I drew No. 3 (for the super-G), I was really excited," she said. "It's the earliest number I've ever drawn and I knew it was a good one because I knew the snow was a little soft and it would favor the early racers."

She was so right. Street, who started immediately ahead of Clark, won the gold medal when the later starters were hampered a bit by softer snow in the turny midsection.

Clark had to be content with learning from her first Olympic start, missing a gate two-thirds of the way down the course.

"I was pretty fired up," she said. "I was having a good run until the pitch leading to the last jump, where I caught an edge.

"I knew I was skiing well. I would rather go out by punching it than just coming down.

"But I've gone out in my last three super-Gs and that's a bummer," she said. "I'll have good split times and then I'll go out. People say, `Well, it's good experience,' but I want something more substantial.

"All racers dream of winning the Olympics, and I can't believe I was actually there to see it happen," Clark said. "I went down to the awards ceremony and watched her get her medal and hear the national anthem playing. It gives me a lot of energy."

She can fulfill her own dream on Saturday in the women's downhill.

And, if not then, she'll likely get her chance competing in Salt Lake City in 2002.