Gain an inch, lose a pound, or two. Gain some experience, win a medal, or two. That's the nutshell story for high school junior Maggie Behle over the past year.
Behle's threatening to push past the 64-inch mark in height but, just when it looked like she'd vault over the century mark in poundage, she's dropped back to 97. But no 97-pound weakling, is she: given her first taste of major international competition at the '96 World Disabled Alpine Championships, Behle came home with two silver medals. She earned silver in downhill and slalom behind Sarah Billmeier in Lech.
Now, with her outriggers lengthened during the pre-season, Behle -- a three-tracker who was born without her right leg -- is looking to jump into some more able-bodied races this season, further refine her technique and climb up on a podium or two in Nagano at the Paralympics.
COMMENTS: "Actually, I thought I'd be more nervous at Worlds, but I made a good time out of it. There was so much fun and I didn't let the competition get to me. I tried not to make too big a deal out of it, just appreciate being there and how much fun I was having. I tried to focus on doing my best....It was hard snow and I like hard snow."
Start-up: She first skied at five, joining the Park City Race Team four years later. In '94, she caught coaches' attention when she won the Huntsman Cup slalom and took silver in the other two races...and was named to the 1995 Ski Team. Last season, she shifted to the Snowbird Ski Team because training opportunities dovetailed more nicely with her school work.
Ski Academy? "Not for me. I couldn't ski every day. I need to focus on school a little more."
School: She's got a 3.6 GPA and although she's got a major interest in sciences, creative writing is her favorite course. Behle's on the school's literary magazine staff.
Tunes: She plays punk and alternative music on her electric guitar but is following her folksinger mom into considering folk music. She's also playing piano.
Cat feedback: She filmed a TV commercial a year ago with Tony the Tiger for Kellogg's Frosted Flakes. No word on more TV work "but I've gotten a few letters...from kids with cancer...It's nice to know you can have an impact."
Cats II: She's got your basic striped tabby named -- what else? -- Tiger. "I'm definitely a cat person."
No Julia Child: "I'm not much of a cook. I live off toast and Raman noodles."
Classics: She enjoys Shakespeare and has taken a shine to Woody Allen's movies. "He has such a weird perspective."
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