VAIL, Colo. -- Seba Johnson is setting records at the 1989 World Alpine Ski Championships, even though she hasn't won any races yet or even placed in the top 20.
At the age of 15, Johnson is the youngest competitor in this prestigious event and the first black racer to finish in the top 30 in international competition.
One of two skiers representing the U.S. Virgin Islands, the diminutive Johnson says her long-range goal is to win a medal in the 1992 Winter Olympics.
She may be on the way to accomplishing just that. She placed 28th out of 64 racers in giant slalom at the Calgary Olympics. In the women's giant slalom Wednesday, she started 65th and finished 47th.
Born in St. Croix, Johnson started skiing at age 7 in New Hampshire. The sport seemed tailor-made for her.
'The first time I was on skis, I loved it and wanted to become a ski racer,' she recalls. She now lives in Stateline, Nev., and races with the Heavenly Valley Ski Team.
The National Brotherhood of Skiers, an organization of black ski clubs that supports black youngsters, pays part of her racing costs. The organization hopes a black racer eventually will make the U.S. team.
Right now, Seba races under the Virgin Island banner because she probably could not make the U.S. team, but that remains one of her goals.
The Virgin Island Ski Federation, the creation of David Steel, is somewhat of an oddity since the U.S. Virgin Islands are not a nation. Steel, 29, formed the federation a few seasons ago so he could ski in international competition.
Steel, born in Pennsylvania, must live in the Virgin Islands to ski under its banner.