Where did the baby name Picabo come from in 1998?

In 1998, the baby name Picabo appeared in the U.S. baby name data for the first and (so far) only time:

  • 2000: unlisted
  • 1999: unlisted
  • 1998: 5 baby girls named Picabo [debut]
  • 1997: unlisted
  • 1996: unlisted


Because that’s the year U.S. skier Picabo Street won a gold medal at the Winter Olympics in Nagano, Japan.

(I also found a handful of babies named Picabo in 1994 — the year Street won a silver medal at the Winter Olympics in Lillehammer, Norway.)

How did Picabo get her name? Here’s what ESPN says:

Picabo Street was born at home, the second of two children in Triumph, Idaho, on April 3, 1971 to two counterculture parents, Stubby and Dee Street, who initially named their daughter “Baby Girl.” Three years later, when Stubby, a stonesman by trade, took his family with him to Central America working a variety of odd jobs, she was re-named Picabo after a nearby Idaho town. (The word means “shining waters” in the language of Sho-Ban, a Native American tribe that once inhabited the region.)

[“Sho-Ban” = Shoshone-Bannock]

Here’s how Picabo told the story in an interview from the mid-1990s:

Well, what happens is I think my mother called me Picabo ever since I was a little tiny baby. And on my birth certificate it says Baby Girl. The original plan was for my parents to let my brother and I name ourselves. I turned 3, he turned 5, we went to get passports to travel to Mexico, and they were like, “No, Baby Girl’s not gonna work, folks.” So, my mom wanted the name Picabo, but my dad did not want to spell it like the game, because he figured, you know we’ll be bailing her out of the principal’s office way too often if we give her that name. So there’s a town down south of where I live, about 20 miles south, called Picabo, spelled the way I spell my name. And you know I think the Indians settled there way back and there’s a world famous trout fishing stream that goes through there called Silver Creek, and it’s very wide and placid, and the Indians are simple, sun hits it, “shining waters.”

At the age of 4, she was given the option to change her name. She opted to stick with Picabo.

Was it easy to growing up with the name Picabo?

“A lot of people made so much fun of my name, so much. They said some of the meanest things, cause you know you can add Peek-a-dot, dot, dot. You fill in the blank,” she remembered. “You can pretty much add anything you want in there and I heard it all”… Street said once she got a little older and put on a little more weight, “I was fighting and yelling at people all the time for making fun of my name, or what I did…but having a name that nobody else had — I liked that.”

What do you think of the name Picabo?

Sources: Five things you may not know about Picabo Street, Interview with Downhill Skier Picabo Street, Injuries haven’t stopped greatest U.S. skier, Nagano Olympics – Athlete profile: Picabo Street, SSA

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