Mancuso takes second in downhill
CORTINA D’AMPEZZO, Italy – American Julia Mancuso has her ski boots back and seems to be peaking in time for the Turin Olympics.She finished second in a World Cup downhill Saturday, duplicating her finish in Friday’s super-G. The races were the final speed events before the Turin Games, which start in less than two weeks.”Gold medals are my goal, I’m just making my way,” said Mancuso, who finished a hair-thin 0.05 seconds behind Austrian winner Renate Goetschl.Goetschl won for a record ninth time in Cortina, covering a shortened course in 1 minute, 9.64 seconds after a 3-hour delay at the start because of a snowstorm.Austrian Elisabeth Goergl was third. Countrywoman Michaela Dorfmeister finished fourth and clinched the season’s downhill title with one race to spare. American Lindsey Kildow finished ninth.
In December, Mancuso forgot her favorite ski boots in a hotel in Canada after a fourth-place finish in the season’s opening downhill. The boots traveled to Aspen, Colo., and France before she got them back earlier this month.Boots are premium equipment for racers, who use them to maintain control over their skis. Most racers have different boots for each discipline, but Mancuso uses one pair for all events.BootlessWithout her favorite boots, she cracked the top-10 only twice.”I started strong in the first downhill, but then I went a month without my ski boots and I sort of like lost my grounding,” she said. “It became just a matter of getting down because I didn’t have the right equipment. It wasn’t me, it was the equipment.”
Mancuso won bronze medals in giant slalom and super-G at last year’s world championships. This marked her first top-three finish in downhill.Goetschl topped the mark set by Swedish great Ingemar Stenmark, who won eight times in Madonna di Campiglio.”It’s something very, very special to win nine times in one place and beat Stenmark, especially here in Cortina,” she said.Angelika Gruener of Italy crashed in the race and briefly lost consciousness. She was taken to a hospital with head, elbow and knee injuries.Like Kildow, Mancuso is one of the few skiers on the circuit that can contend in all four disciplines.”I love everything,” she said. “I love downhill because it’s fast and you can use more technique because there are more training runs. Super-G is cool because you don’t have any training and anything can happen, you just have to be ready.
“Slalom has been going pretty well, better than last year. Giant slalom, I’m struggling a bit. But I think everything is coming together just in time for the Olympics.”Including the combined race, Mancuso will be a threat in five events in Turin.”Here’s my favorite quote, ‘Shoot for the moon because you’ll end up with the stars anyway,”‘ she said.Mancuso’s result Saturday coincided with a fourth-place finish by her boyfriend Steve Nyman in the downhill, the best result of his career.Vail, Colorado