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Olympic skiers hit slopes for super-G medals

Published On: Feb 15 2014 10:01:43 AM CST
Julia Mancuso, Sochi super combined

Stefano Rellandini/Reuters

Julia Mancuso has won the only alpine skiing medal for the U.S. in Sochi, a bronze in the super combined, but fell short of adding to her Olympic total on Saturday.

The 29-year-old Squaw Valley, Calif., native finished eighth in the super-G, matching her finish from the downhill event earlier this week.

Instead, Austria dominated the podium in the event, with Anna Fenninger winning gold and Nicole Hosp taking bronze. German Maria Hoefl-Riesch came in second for the silver medal.

Leanne Smith had the next best finish of any American skier, finishing 18th. Fellow American skiers Stacey Cook and Laurenne Ross failed to finish their runs.

Mancuso won an unexpected gold in the giant slalom in Turin, Italy, in 2006, her first Olympic Games. The 29-year-old Squaw Valley, Calif., native also won silver medals in both the super combined and downhill at the 2010 Winter Olympics.

Her bronze in the super combined gives her a career total of four Olympic medals. No other female American alpine skier has won more than two Olympic medals.

Mancuso's performance in Sochi has helped fill a void for U.S. skiing fans created when gold medal favorite Lindsey Vonn pulled out of the games due to a knee injury.

Vonn originally tore her knee ligaments at the world championships nearly a year ago. The four-time World Cup overall champion underwent reconstructive surgery but aggravated the problem in a crash during training in November.

Four years ago, Mancuso finished second in the Olympics downhill behind Vonn at Whistler. Last March, she took third place at the world championships in the super-G race where Vonn earlier crashed and hurt her knee.

After a difficult start to the 2013-14 World Cup season, Mancuso took a break from the slopes. After returning in mid-January, she scored her first three top-10 finishes of the season (two in the downhill and one in the Super-G), securing her spot for her fourth Olympic Games.

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