Mancuso misses in super G |

Mancuso misses in super G

Luke Graham

— By the time Julia Mancuso stepped into the starting gate Saturday in the women’s super G event, the track already had laid down its law. 
Seven of the first eight skiers washed out, skied out or couldn’t complete the course. The snow, which has been brutalized by rising temperatures all week, again was like white lava Saturday, the soft slush making skiers more like car drifters at the Rosa Khutor Alpine Center.

That said, by the time the startlist had turned the page, the pre-race favorites all had done what they needed to do.

Anna Fenninger, of Austria, won the gold. Maria Hofl-Riesch, of Germany, won silver and Austria’s Nicole Hosp won bronze.

Mancuso, who started earlier than most of the favorites, was eighth. She started after a large group of skiers had adjusted to the twisty course.

Many of the favorites took a different line as the day wore on, specifically on a left-footed turn near the top.

“It’s difficult,” Mancuso said “It definitely turns on the last pitch. The snow changes the whole way down. You just have to make sure you’re over your outside ski.”

The course proved tough with 18 skiers not finishing.

It was clear the skiers that went later had the advantage. WIth rising temperatures the snow was consistently changing.

“We saw on the TV how the first seven out of eight starters went out, so I was kind of nervous because I knew it would be really challenging,” said Hofl-Riesch, who won her second medal of these games. “I was close to stopping in the middle section. If I had been 1 meter further out, I would have stopped. I thought that was going to cost me a lot of time and I thought I was way behind in the race for a medal.”

The result continues the Americans’ struggles on the ski hill in the early going. Although Mancuso was considered on the outside of medal contention coming in, her result fell in line with the rest of the United States performance thus far.

Outside of Mancuso’s surprise medal in super combined, the United States Alpine team has come up blank.

That could change. The men’s super G is Sunday and Vail’s wonder girl Mikaela Shiffrin arrived and should have a great chance in slalom and giant slalom.

To reach Luke Graham, call 970-871-4229, email or follow him on Twitter @LukeGraham

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