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Downhill delay can only be good for Moe

In the grandstand at the finish line, one of a gang of Austrians, clad in purple and orange and waving red flags, stood up with his trumpet.

He started playing, Na-Na, Hey-Hey, Kiss Him Goodbye, the universal two-minute warning song.Problem was, it wasn't over. The Olympic men's downhill hadn't even started yet.

The way they've blitzkrieged the World Cup circuit this season, the Austrians perhaps were only assuming what they feel will soon be rightly theirs.

"I don't know," said Tom Moe, dad of the defending Olympic champion. "Those Austrians are under so much pressure. So much is laid on their shoulders.

"You know skiing. Things happen."

As the elder Moe and son Tommy will attest, four years ago in Lillehammer the race also was prematurely conceded to someone whose World Cup credentials appeared golden. But Norway's Kjetil Andre Aamodt's grip on first place lasted only about 90 seconds that cold day.

The very next skier down the mountain, Moe, bettered Aamodt's time by 4-100ths of a second. And before the day was through, Moe, who had never won even a World Cup event before, was Olympic champion and the Norwegian people were toasting him with a chorus of Happy Birthday.

Things happen.