Four-time Olympic medalist Julia Mancuso retires from skiing

Angelo Anderson
January 20, 2018

Mancuso announced she will retire from skiing after a goodbye run in a World Cup downhill Friday.

As a junior ski racer, Mancuso came blazing on to the scene, grabbing an American record eight Junior World Championship medals.

To keep from crying during the final run of her career, Julia Mancuso donned a Wonder Woman ski suit and tied a red cape around her neck, then raced downhill at the World Cup in Cortina D'Ampezzo, Italy, with friends and American skiing legends waiting for her at the bottom. She also collected five medals at world championships and won seven World Cup races. Mikaela Shiffrin, who leads the world cup standings by more than 800 points and has already qualified for PyeongChang, is competing this week.

"It has been an epic battle with my hip injury, and the past three years I have put everything into returning to competition at the highest level and the goal to reach my fifth Olympic Games", Mancuso said in a press release.

The hard decision came after Mancuso, 33, struggled to return to form since a right hip surgery that kept her out the previous two full World Cup seasons. After four days in Maui, I left black and blue and even more impressed by Mancuso, who's breeziness was infectious. Sadly I haven't found the progression to compete with the best in world again but I'm proud to have fought until the very end.

After an 18-year career her final outing was a cameo run down the slope in the Italian Dolomites where she took her first podium finish in January 2006.

In 2006, I sat in the library at the Outside offices and made my case for why the magazine needed a feature story on ski racer Julia Mancuso.

"I felt like the crazier I would dress, the better and easier and less I would be emotional and cry", Mancuso told the Associated Press.

"Skiing is fun first and foremost and I hope that my career can inspire others to just have fun, especially as an underdog", Mancuso said after wiping away tears. "I had to pull out the superpowers for today".

In the finish area, Lindsey Vonn and teammates sprayed Mancuso with champagne and carried her on their shoulders while the crowd cheered "Julia, Julia".

Mancuso is free to do her thing now, which often includes surfing. "All of my friends are here and healthy, and that's really nice".

"It's always been something looming in the back of my mind - what would be my cutoff to really decide", said Mancuso, who limps noticeably because of her hip problem. "I was looking forward to coming here and proving that I had what it takes to make the combined team for the Olympics", said Mancuso. It all happened really fast.

She is tied with Vonn for most global championship medals won by a United States woman with nine and has also stood on the World Cup podium 36 times, with seven wins, and started in 398 World Cup races.

She won Olympic gold in the giant slalom in Turin 2006, silver in the downhill and combined in Vancouver in 2010, and bronze in the combined in Sochi four years ago.

She hasn't won a race since February 2012 with her last podium a third place in the World Cup downhill in Lake Louise, Canada in 2014.

Vonn was also moved to tears by Mancuso's retirement. "It makes me realize how long we've been doing this", Vonn said. "I honestly think that we're both in the position that we're in because we were growing up together, because we pushed each other".

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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