Mancuso rebounds for 8th place in delayed GS; Vail's Schleper finishes 14th
February 25, 2010 —
WHISTLER CREEKSIDE, BC – Julia Mancuso (Olympic Valley, CA) rebounded well from Wednesday's unfortunate restart, carving Thursday's third-fastest run to move up from 18th to eighth in giant slalom.
"Today was definitely about going out there and doing the best I can," Mancuso said. "Given the circumstances yesterday I really had nothing to use and I found a hidden piece of energy to go and lay one down."
The 2006 gold medalist in GS said she understood the decision to flag her off the course the day before, and she was more than content with her overall experience at these Games.
"I know it all comes down to safety first and you have to respect the decision made by everyone working on the hill to make it fun and safe for everyone," she said.
"I couldn't have asked for anything more. I mean, I haven't been on the podium for two years and then to come in here and take two silver medals is incredible, and then to be a part of a team that had an amazing Olympics is special. It's really perfect."
Mancuso made up almost a full second on first-run leader Elisabeth Goergl of Austria, who won bronze in a time .41 faster. Germany's Viktoria Rebensburg won gold.
"I feel like this was another stepping stone in my career, and I'm healthy, and I know how to stay healthy and I'm going to use all of this momentum to go into the next season and the next years to come with a little more confidence," Mancuso said. "Really the confidence was lost when I had (a back) injury, and I feel confident now and I have the results and I have the two medals to go into the next races and the next years and stay on top."
Mancuso was also happy that teammate Sarah Schleper (Vail, CO) found another solid run to finish where she started the day, in 14th.
"I'm so proud of her," Mancuso said of the four-time Olympian. "We had a moment, and just to be able to come back from injuries and have had a two-year-old, for her to go out and be 14th today, that was awesome."
In her first Olympics, Megan McJames (Park City, UT) finished 32nd and gained invaluable race experience, even if she didn't get the result she wanted.
"It wasn't what I was hoping for and I know I can be faster, but I took my first Olympic run yesterday and my second today and I've learned from each one," McJames said. "Tomorrow I've got to take all of that and just go as fast as I can. I'm really excited to be able to have a second race at the Olympics so I'll have to move all that energy into the slalom."
Friday's first slalom run is slated for 10 a.m. PT, with the second going off at 1 p.m. Schleper, with a World Cup win in slalom to her credit, will join McJames among the starters for the U.S.
"Of course I'm shooting for the podium, it's the only reason that we race in the Olympics," Schleper said. "It's all or nothing, fourth place doesn't matter so I'm going to go as hard as I can and ski as hard as I can and see what happens. I can't do anything besides that."
Downhill gold medalist Lindsey Vonn (Vail, CO) will race Friday after breaking her pinkie finger in the crash that occurred while teammate Mancuso was on course Wednesday. Filling out the roster for Team USA will be Hailey Duke (Boise, ID), making her Olympic debut.
2010 WINTER OLYMPIC GAMES
Whistler Creekside – Feb. 24
Women's Giant Slalom, First Run
Gold – Viktoria Rebensburg, Germany, 2:27.11
Silver – Tina Maze, Slovenia, 2:27.15
Bronze – Elisabeth Goergl, Austria, 2:27.25
4. Fabienne Suter, Switzerland, 2:27.52
5. Kathrin Zettel, Austria, 2:27.53
8. Julia Mancuso, Olympic Valley, CA, 2:27.66
14. Sarah Schleper, Vail, CO, 2:28.36
32. Megan McJames, Park City, UT, 2:32.98
DNF 1 – Lindsey Vonn, Vail, CO
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