OLYMPICS

Sochi Olympics: Julia Mancuso displays her Gamesmanship, wins bronze

American Julia Mancuso, again saving her best for the Olympics, earns a surprise bronze medal in super combined. And she may not be done.

  • Pin It
Nicole Hosp, Maria Hoefl-Riesch, Julia Mancuso

Austria's silver medalist Nicole Hosp, left, Germany's gold medalist Maria Hoefl-Riesch, center, and American bronze medalist Julia Mancuso show off their super-combined medals following a podium ceremony at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympic Games. (Antonin Thuillier / AFP/Getty Images / February 10, 2014)

SOCHI, Russia — Julia Mancuso knows that trying to catch Lindsey Vonn in World Cup victories is futile, like a baseball pitcher saying he wants to catch Cy Young.

Mancuso and Vonn both are 29 and with Vonn leading by the World Cup score of 59 to 7, that ballgame is over.

Mancuso has been left to carve out a different legacy, but it's the one America, and NBC, will probably remember longer.

FRAMEWORK: Best images from the Sochi Olympics

Mancuso's ski racing legacy will be the Olympics.

She made that clear Monday at Rosa Khutor when she out-of-nowhere earned a bronze medal in the women's first event — the super combined.

It enabled Mancuso to double up on Vonn, four to two, in Olympic hardware, with her best races yet to come.

She has been tripping over herself all year on the World Cup circuit, but apparently all you have to do to shake a slump is point Mancuso to an Olympic start gate.

Earning bronze in the super combined required Mancuso to complete a downhill and slalom in the same day.

The downhill was no problem, as Mancuso won the morning run by nearly half a second.

Completing the slalom, though, for her is like getting a drunk to walk a straight line.

Mancuso had not finished a World Cup slalom race since 2012 and had not completed one in a combined in nearly a year.

But this was the Olympics, so of course she did it Monday.

She built up enough of a cushion in downhill that she was able to medal with only the 13th-fastest slalom time.

After the downhill, Slovenian superstar Tina Maze joked with Mancuso in the mixed zone.

"Get ready for some slalom," Maze said.

Mancuso's response: "Game on."

Maze finished fourth in the super-combined.

Mancuso did not have enough juice to overcome Germany's five-tool star, Maria Hoefl-Riesch, who defended her Olympic combined gold with a total time of 2 minutes 34.62 seconds.

Hoefl-Riesch trailed Mancuso by 1.04 seconds after the downhill but easily made up the time in the gates. The reason was simple: Hoefl-Riesch is also the defending Olympic slalom champion.

  • Pin It

Local & National Video