Rosa Khutor, Russia – California’s Julia Mancuso produced a true champion performance on Monday, becoming the first American skier in history to win a medal in three straight Olympic Winter Games with her bronze in a tricky super combined event at the Rosa Khutor alpine center.
“I knew I just had to give my best shot and it sure didn’t feel good. I definitely had moments in my mind where I was thinking, ‘This is not going to be good enough but keep fighting’,” Mancuso admitted. “I knew where to let it run on that last pitch and surprise! I looked up and got a medal.”
Mancuso skied into the lead in the downhill portion and then ripped up the slalom that bumped nine skiers off course, finishing third behind gold winner Maria Hoefl-Riesch of Germany, the super combined gold medalist in the Vancouver Games in 2010, and silver winner Nicole Hosp of Austria.
“I was just kind of amazed,” Mancuso added. “As you know, it’s been a really tough season for me, and I’ve always just had that real belief that I can do it. So putting out these dreams and beliefs that I can come out here and have a medal and everyone being a little skeptical and just knowing in my heart that I can do it was kind of like crossing the finish line saying, ‘See it works! Believing in yourself works! I got a medal today!’”
Mancuso joins long track speedskater Bonnie Blair and short track speedskater Apolo Ohnonow with her three straight medals for Team USA. She is now the most decorated American Olympic skier with a total of four medals, and is now the only American woman to win a medal of every color in alpine skiing.
“She had a fantastic downhill run. That was pretty amazing because I actually thought that the slope got a little slower later on, and with that bib number it was a pretty amazing run,” said U.S. Women’s Alpine Head Coach Alex Hoedlmoser. “It was a really good slalom run for her. She has been training it lately, but considering the last couple years she hasn’t really been doing slalom seriously. So I think it was a very strong performance in her mind. She set the tone and she just decided to do it, and she’s a true champion and that’s why she can do those things.
“She gets so excited at the Olympics. After that fantastic downhill run today, which gave her a lot of confidence, I think she knew that she was in the hunt, and she just wanted to give it all,” Hoedlmoser added.
Leanne Smith, of North Conway, N.H., finished 20th in the downhill but could not finish her run on the impressively steep and icy slalom course. Neither Mammoth Lakes, Calif.’s Stacey Cook nor Laurenne Ross, of Bend, Ore., finished the downhill portion.
Mancuso and the U.S. women will be back to take on downhill on Wednesday.
“I just love being here at the Olympics. It’s so much fun and I get really energized. I got a lot of energy from watching the men’s race yesterday, and it was just a perfect example of what I always think: anything is possible at the Olympics, you can never count anyone out and you always have to just do your best,” Mancuso concluded.
2014 Winter Olympic Games
Sochi/Rosa Khutor, Russia – Feb. 11, 2014
Women’s Super Combined
|Rank||Start Number||Bib||Country||Name||Run 1