Ice man Eric Heiden won his third speed-skating gold medal of the 13th Winter Olympics today with a victory in the 1,000 meters, while Ingemar Stenmark, Sweden's heartthrob king of the mountain, slid and sliced his way to gold in the giant slalom.
And when each man had finished, the people here simply stood in awe.
"I think Eric will win all five [gold medals]," said Canada's Gaetan Boucher, paired in the race with Heiden today and the silver medalist. "He's the greatest skater in history."
Up on Whiteface Mountain, Stenmark posted the fastest time of the day by nearly a second and won despite hanging in third place after Monday's first run. American skier Phil Mahre, who finished 10th, described the Swede as "just amazing. It's inexplicable how one guy can be so consistent."
In other final events today, Ulrich Wehling of East Germany also demonstrated remarkable consistency. He won his third gold medal in as many Winter Olympics in the Nordic combined, after finishing ninth in the 15-kilometer cross-country portion of today's race.
That showing, coupled with his first-place leap in the 70-meter jump Monday, gave him the title and the distinction of being the first Winter Games athlete to win golds in three different competitions.
America's Walter Malmquist, who entered the competition in second place, finished 27th in a field of 31 in the cross-country race and had to settle for 12th overall, the second best American performance in the event in Olympic history.
East Germany added two more gold medals when Frank Ullrich won the 10-kilometer biathlon and the pair of Hans Rinn and Norbert Hahn prevailed in the men's double luge competition.
In ice dancing, Natalia Linichuk and Gennadi Karponosov of the Soviet Union won the gold medal tonight.Krisztina Regoczy and Andras Sallay of Hungry took the silver and Irina Moiseeva and Andrei Minenkov of the Soviet Union took the bronze. The highest U.S. finishers were Judy Blumberg and Michael Seibert. They were seventh.
Britain's Robin Cousins moved into position for a gold in men's figure skating when he took advantage of a disastrous performance by Charlie Tickner of the U.S. to vault into second place after two phases of the competition.
As expected, East Germany's Jan Hoffman maintained his slight lead with a solid performance in the short progam but Hoffman is not a strong free skater and should be no match for Cousins in the final five-minute free skating phase Thursday night.
Tickner, second after the compulsory figures, finished fifth in the short program and slipped to third place. He stumbled on the landing on a double jump combination -- the most important element of the program -- and was penalized severely, drawing one mark of 5.0 for the error.
Cousins, who had been fourth following Monday's compulsory figures, vaulted into second with a dazzling short program that earned him 5.8s and 5.9s with one perfect 6.0 for presentation from the Canadian judge.
David Santee, of Park Ridge, Ill., was OLYMPICS, From D1> bumped back into fourth although his performance was warmly received by the crowd and was rated third behind Cousins and Hoffman.
At the speed skating oval this morning, Heiden skated in the first pair against Canada's Boucher, the man expected to give him the most competition. It never happened.
Heiden prevailed by more than 10 meters with an Olympic record clocking of 1 minute 15.18 seconds, carrying Boucher to a 1:16.68 that allowed him to win Canada's second medal of the games. Frode Roenning of Norway and Vladimir Lobanov of the Soviet Union tied for the bronze and America's Peter Mueller, the 1976 Olympic champion for the distance, was fifth.
Heiden now has won the 500, the 5,ooo and the 1,000 and goes for what would be an unprecedented fourth gold in speed skating Thursday in the 1,500 meters. Saturday brings on the 10,000 meters the toughest race of all, and today Heiden admitted he was starting to feel the physical strain.
He said he felt uncomfortable for the first time in a 1,000-meter race this year, adding: "I'm finding it harder and harder to get up for each race. t
"There's a lot of pressure that I put on myself. You get lazy and say to yourself, 'Why don't you just relax for this next race instead of getting all psyched up like you always do.' I definitely wasn't as psyched for this race as I should have been."
Heiden became the fourth man to win three speed skating gold medals, joining Norways Ivar Ballangrud (1936) and Hjalmar Anderson (1952) and Holland's Ard Schenk (1972). How does he assess his chances for five?
"I'd like to, but there are still two to go. The 10,000 will be the last race and there are a lot of skaters I haven't skated in big competition against. Hopefully I'll be mentally prepared," he said.
Up on the mountain, Stenmark clearly was in the proper frame of mind. He had been furious with himself for his performance in Monday's first run, and before the start of today's race he admitted, "I was very nervous."
Stenmark had been in this position before. He has won 14 straight World Cup races, 10 of them after he had failed to lead in the first run. So today, sitting in third place, 32/100ths of a second behind the leader Andreas Wenzel, of Liechtenstein, Stenmark was prepared to pounce.
With the king and queen of Sweden watching, Stenmark gave a command performance. He was the third man down the hill today, and when he had negotiated the 55 gates of the Thruway course, he appeared to be displeased as he came to the finish area.
When he turned to see his two-day time of 2:40.74 on the scoreboard, he took a phantom punch and dug his pole into the snow, shaking his head. But a few minutes later, Stenmark broke out in a broad, beaming grin. He knew the gold was his.
He knew quickly. Austria's Hanns Enn, second after the first run, came down next and was almost two seconds off Stenmark's 1:20.25 clocking today.
Wenzel was next, and he, too, failed to catch Stenmark. His clocking of 1:21.32 earned him a silver medal, however, matching his sister Hanni, who took second in the women's downhill Sunday. No brother and sister had ever won medals in Alpine events before today.
"Stenmark is the most worthy gold medalist," Wenzel said. "I'm not disappointed. I had an idea this would happen."
In men's figure skating, Charlie Tickner of Littleton, Colo., the 1978 world champion, failed to complete a triple toe loop double loop combination and dropped to third place overall in that event. The free skating competition will be Thursday night.
Tickner, who had been in second place after the school figures, said, "It (the jump) wasn't 100 percent complete like I'd like it to be."
While not quarrelling with the judging, Tickner seemed perplexed that the grades from the nine judges could range from a high of 5.8 to a low of 5.0 The crowd booed when the marks went up.
"They deduct eight-tenths for a complete miss, a fall. I was one half a revolution short. You'd think they'd take off four- or maybe five-tenths.
"From the marks, had I skated everything perfectly, I would have gotten a 5.4 or 5.5. But 5.0 . . . It's hard to say. Maybe there was something else they didn't like."
Tickner said he had no intention of altering his long program in an effort to catch up.