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Four years ago at the Torino Winter Olympics, Julia Mancuso surprised everyone by taking home the gold medal in the women’s giant slalom. We were hoping she might do the same in the GS race at Whistler, held on Wednesday. But luck wasn’t on the Americans’ side. Although Mancuso already has two silver medals to her name from this year’s Winter Games in Vancouver (one in downhill and one in super combined), in Wednesday’s GS, neither she nor her teammate and rival Lindsey Vonn (who won gold in the women’s downhill) secured a spot on the podium. The second run of the race was postponed until Thursday due to poor weather, and currently Austria’s Elisabeth Goergl is in first, followed closely by France’s Taina Barioz and Austria’s Kathrin Zettel.
Lindsey Vonn was the 17th racer to go and crashed in her run, breaking a finger (add that injury to her bruised shin) and getting tangled in the fencing along the side of the course. Mancuso charged the course immediately after Vonn, in the 18th starting position, but was flagged down by an official since Vonn was still in the course. Mancuso was granted a rerun and taken by snowmobile to the top of the course. “I was kind of thinking, like, ‘Is this really happening?’” Mancuso told the Associated Press. After waiting for 13 racers, she was able to repeat her run, but her time put her 1.30 seconds behind Goergl, the current leader. “The fact that I wasn’t flagged earlier or they weren’t able to get her out of the way in time—it’s just a ridiculous situation,” said Mancuso, who shed tears at the finish line before her rerun.
In response to the often-mentioned rivalry between the two women, Vonn told reporters, “I honestly feel terrible for Julia. It’s absolutely not what I wanted. I wanted to finish. I wanted to have a good run and by no means did I want that to happen to Julia. I try to support Julia as much as I support all the other teammates. I’ve been racing with Julia since I was a little kid and yes, we’re competitors, but I always support her. It definitely has hurt me that she has said some negative things about me. All I can do is continue to support her the way I always have been and hope that she reciprocates that. I’m always proud that an American is doing well, and I was proud of her for being on the podium in downhill and super combined. It just bums me out.”
The GS is Mancuso’s last event at this Olympic Games. Vonn says she may or may not compete in Friday’s slalom race due to her injuries.