The talk of the Olympic women’s alpine skiing contest was all about Lindsey Vonn before the games kicked off. However, with Vonn at home as the Games progress, Julia Mancuso is changing that narrative quickly.
The 29-year-old Reno, Nev. native made her Olympic debut in 2002 at Salt Lake City, and for all of her success, it seems that she’s always been racing as an underdog. Whether it was battling injury in 2010 in Vancouver, or struggling in the World Cup season as she did in 2006, though, Mancuso has always found a way to bring her best on the world’s stage.
On Monday at Rosa Khutor, Mancuso scored another accomplishment for the record books. After winning the downhill portion of the Super Combined event, she gave back some time in the slalom portion, but still finished in third place. The bronze medal she’ll be taking home is her fourth, and she is now the most decorated female skier in American history.
The longevity of her career is just one of the historical footnotes, as Mancuso has now medaled in three Winter Olympics, joining speedskaters Bonnie Blair and Apolo Anton Ohno as the only Americans to so. However, if she can repeat her downhill dominance on Wednesday, she’ll accomplish something even greater.
That possible medal, her fifth, would tie her with Bode Miller as the most decorated American skier in history, period. For somebody who seems to always fly under the radar one way or another, that’s an absolutely incredible accomplishment that deserves to be recognized.
Mancuso is quick to admit that there’s just something about the Games that brings out the best in her. ”I just know to never give up,” she told USA TODAY about her slow start to the World Cup season. “That’s a big part of it. The Olympics just causes me to bring that extra bit of intensity.”
World Cup helps pay the bills, but the Olympics are where real history is made, and Julia Mancuso is making her mark with every run.