The Old Men on the Mountains

The Old Men on the Mountains

Didier Cuche is an Olympic senior citizen at 35 years years old, so you might assume that his event is curling. But instead of pushing a stone across the ice Saturday, Mr. Cuche will be careening down an icy slope at 80 miles an hour as the gold-medal favorite in the men's downhill competition (if the race isn't postponed by weather).

The Swiss skier is in good— and aging—company. In 1980, the top 12 finishers in the Olympics' downhill event averaged a young 23.6 years. This year's top 12 men's downhill skiers are ancient by comparison: 29.9 years.

"It's become an event that's all about experience," said Phil Mahre, who won silver and gold medals in the slalom in the 1980 and 1984 Olympic Games. "And it's a lot more technical than it's ever been."

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