Mancuso’s more than just skiing
ARE, Sweden – Julia Mancuso is already an Olympic champion. She still hasn’t hit her prime, and her potential appeal stretches beyond a quadrennial sports event.Some think Mancuso has the personality to be skiing’s next Alberto Tomba.”I think she’s got that attitude of a modern-day Tomba, and she’s a chick,” said British skier Chemmy Alcott, a friend of Mancuso on the women’s circuit. “She’s got the kind of look, she has a lot of male following. She makes it cooler.”The 22-year-old Mancuso won the giant slalom at the 2006 Turin Olympics. With three World Cup victories this season, she’s a multi-medal favorite at the Alpine Skiing World Championships, which begin Sunday with the women’s super-G.Mancuso’s skiman, Andrea Vianello, used to work for Tomba, the 1988 slalom gold medalist.
“They’re very similar in terms of personality. She likes being the center of attention, just like Alberto,” Vianello said. “It depends how she wakes up in the morning. Sometimes she never wants you to leave her side, then the next day she just wants to be left alone.”U.S. speed coach Alex Hoedlmoser said Mancuso has the personality to bring skiing into the mainstream.”For sure. She’s this lovely Californian girl living in Hawaii. And she’s having a lot of fun in life,” Hoedlmoser said. “Also, let’s face it, she’s a good-looking girl and that makes things easier for sponsors.”On the hill, Mancuso is one of the most relaxed skiers on the circuit. She often jokes with Vianello seconds before leaving the starting gate during races.”She’s got nothing to stress about because she can kick butt,” Alcott said.
Mancuso agreed.”When I’m in the start gate I just like to smile, go back to the beginning and have fun,” she said.Mancuso’s a fashion maven, known to wear a tiara while she makes her way down the slope. Last season, she and Alcott designed a line of hooded jumpers.Alcott is ready to help promote the Super Jules underwear line.”I’ll model her underwear for her if she wants, but she’s got a better body than me so she won’t need me,” Alcott said.
Mancuso and Alcott also want to get into ski equipment design, including Velcro ski straps to hold skis together.”I always want to create new things. I’m a creator. It’s fun to be creative,” Mancuso said. “Me and Chemmy were talking about making ski straps. I think we’re going to go into that together.”Like Bode Miller, Mancuso travels the ski circuit in a mobile home – a bus inherited from Daron Rahlves, who retired at the end of last season. While Mancuso certainly likes to enjoy herself, Alcott said she’s not a party animal.”Not when she’s competing,” Alcott said. “It’s kind of like a personality you give off because that’s what people want to hear. It’s like Bode, I’m sure he doesn’t go out every night. But people want to hear that. And she is a really fun girl.”