Julia Mancuso wins silver in women's super combined; Lindsey Vonn falls during slalom run
Julia Mancuso doubled her medal total with a silver in the super combined Thursday. Mancuso won the silver medal in the women's downhill Wednesday. Lindsey Vonn of the U.S., who led after the downhill portion, fell during the slalom and did not win a medal. Maria Riesch of Germany won the gold; Anja Paerson of Sweden won the bronze.
The super combined adds the total of a downhill and slalom run. Lowest combined time wins.
Mancuso becomes only the fifth American woman to win two alpine skiing medals in the same Olympic Winter Games. The others: Gretchen Fraser (gold in slalom, silver in combined, 1948); Andrea Mead-Lawrence (golds in giant slalom and slalom, 1952); Penny Pitou (silvers in downhill and giant slalom, 1960) and Jean Saubert (silver in giant slalom, bronze in slalom, 1964).
"I didn't expect that," Mancuso said of her success. "Such a great feeling of accomplishment and really just believing in everything I was doing."
Mancuso is now tied with male counterpart Bode Miller for most career Olympic Alpine medals by a U.S. skier at three.
Mancuso also gave America its first medal in women's Olympic combined or super-combined since 1948. And her best event is yet to come — the giant slalom on Wednesday, the race the 25-year-old from Squaw Valley, Calif., won at the 2006 Turin Games.
Hip surgery after the Turin Games led to back problems that made sidetracked her career. To push her further into the shadows, Vonn has claimed 18 World Cup race victories and two overall titles. Mancuso hasn't won any World Cup race since March of 2007.
"I just came to these Olympics trying to put the past behind me and rip it up," Mancuso said.
Vonn, who has been racing against Mancuso since they were children, has a different perspective.
"She's just attacking. She has a lot of intensity, and I think her struggling in the past few years is maybe motivating her more," Vonns said. "And she's coming in here as an underdog. No one's really expecting her to do anything, and I think that helps.
"When you don't have any pressure, it helps to ski aggressively. It definitely is a lot different, you know, when you have everyone looking at you and expecting you to do things."
As for Vonn's fall during her slalom run, she said it was the most common of mistakes.
"I hooked a tip, and that happens in ski racing all the time," she said. "I just wish it wasn't at the Olympic Games."-- Houston Mitchell in Vancouver, Canada
Photo: Julia Mancuso. Credit: Emmanuel Dunand /AFP/Getty Images