FEATURES
2006 Olympics

36 StokedItaliana
American men and women ruled the halfpipe in Bardonecchia. It was sick
by Austin Murphy

42Exceptional
Family support helped speedskater Chad Hedrick win his first gold
by Brian Cazeneuve

45 Slow Out of theGate
Neither new skis nor prerace relaxation helped the U.S. in the men'sdownhill
by Tim Layden
• Out of the Ashes The glory of the Games may help Turin overcome a 57-year-oldtragedy by S.L. Price

COLLEGEBASKETBALL

48 ValleyBoys
There's nothing mid-major these days about the Missouri Valley Conference
by Stewart Mandel

NBA MIDSEASONREPORT

52 So Smooth
Pistons point guard Chauncey Billups might be the first journeyman MVP
by Jack McCallum

NASCAR PREVIEW2006

62 SpeedDemon
Carl Edwards could perform the ultimate backflip--Nextel Cup in hand
by Lars Anderson

OZZIE GUILLEN

War of theWords
From the mouth of White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen, a barrage by S.L. Price

PAGE 74

Departments

6 Leading Off
14 Letters
17 Air and Space
More Massachusetts youth leagues say yes to YEP: Yankees Elimination Program bySteve Rushin

18 Scorecard
• NHL must amend gambling rules
• Baylor basketball bounces back
• Michelle Kwan's exit from Turin

28 Faces in theCrowd
31 Players
88 Life of Reilly
Going in reverse down Glory Road, this team pales in comparison to TexasWestern by Rick Reilly

Inside ...

84 CollegeBasketball
• Precocious Kansas hits its stride
• Beware a Cinderella from the CAA

86 The NFL
• Rating the Super Bowl refs
• The top nonfranchise free agents

Cover
PHOTOGRAPH BY AL TIELEMANS
INSET PHOTOS: Bob Martin (Teter, White); Al Tielemans (Bleiler, Kass)

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GO TO SI.COM DAILY FOR SCORES, STATS AND BREAKING NEWS

Has Kevin Garnett'scareer run its course in Minnesota? Has Allen Iverson worn out his welcome inPhiladelphia? Are Kenyon Martin and Paul Pierce about to be moved? Go toSI.com/nba for Marty Burns's analysis as the league's Feb. 23 trading deadlineapproaches.

You've grownaccustomed to reading Rick Reilly (below) in the pages of SI. Now you can watchhis wildly popular new video segment, Riffs of Reilly, every Thursday atSI.com.

Julia Mancuso(left) was in kindergarten when her father was arrested and subsequently jailedfor the first time and a teen when he was locked up a second time. Now she's a21-year-old U.S. Olympic skier who will compete in five races in Italy, withher proud father on-hand to watch. Read Tim Layden's story on Mancuso and getother Winter Games news and features at SI.com/olympics.

Spring is in theair as pitchers and catchers report to training camp this week. For divisionpreviews and Tom Verducci's columns, go to SI.com/baseball.

Jeff Gordon (below)has won three of the last nine Daytona 500s. Will he be the first driver sinceSterling Marlin in '95 to win the race back-to-back? Go to SI.com/nascar to geta prediction of the finish on Feb. 19. You can also read postrace commentaryand find out whom the beefed-up staff of NASCAR columnists favors for the 2006Nextel Cup title.

FOUR PHOTOSNANCIE BATTAGLIA (LUGE, 4)36 HOT SEATS An aerial look at the men's Olympic luge competition, which was won by Italy's Armin Zoeggeler (6). Tony Benshoof of the U.S. (11) finished fourth. PHOTOJEFF ROBERSON/AP (GUILLEN) ILLUSTRATION PHOTOJONATHAN BROWNFIELD (MEISSNER)35 SWEET 16 The youngest U.S. competitor, Kimmie Meissner warmed up for her competition, which was scheduled to begin on Feb. 21. THREE PHOTOSPETER READ MILLER (REILLY); BRIAN ROBB (MANCUSO); BOB ROSATO (GORDON)
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)