Eighteen years after her first World Cup race, Julia "Super Jules" Mancuso has retired from professional ski racing. The announcement came after her final World Cup Super-G race in Cortina, Italy. Her incredible accolades include four Olympic medals, nine global championship medals, 36 World Cup podiums, and just under 400 World Cup starts.
“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," said Mancuso in an official statement from U.S. Ski and Snowboard (formerly USSA). “Sadly, I haven’t found the progression to compete with the best in the world again, but I’m proud to have fought until the very end. It is with a heavy heart that I say goodbye to ski racing, but I do so with a full heart.”
Mancuso won her first Olympic medal at the 2006 Winter Games in Torino, Italy. Despite a snowstorm, she battled through the conditions and won gold the the giant slalom. Mancuso was 21 at the time of the race, and the future was bright for the ski racer from California.
In a 2009 interview, Mancuso told Skiing Magazine that when she was nine years old, in her Squaw Valley Ski Team locker room, she drew herself onto a poster of Olympic champion Tommy Moe and wrote, “Julia Mancuso, three-time Olympic gold medalist.”
“I have a couple more to get," she said, and she followed through the following season.
Despite a back injury the season before the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, Canada, Mancuso invested heavily in recovering before the games. Through rehab, training, and strong skiing, she would go on to win two medals in Vancouver, silver in the downhill, and silver in the super combined.
She would also win bronze in the super combined at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, bringing her total Olympic medal count to four, the most of any U.S. Women's Ski Team Member in history.
Since the age of 18, Mancuso battled hip dysplasia as well as a number of injuries throughout her ski racing career. She underwent several surgeries and years of rehab, but the pain has been a side-lining obstacle for her in more recent seasons. Despite her comeback to race in St. Moritz, Switzerland, this past December and in Cortina today, Mancuso will not race in the Winter Olympics in South Korea next month. Instead, she'll be a contributor to NBC's coverage of this year's Winter Games.
"I am happy that I get to ski my last race here in Cortina—one of my favorite stops on the tour," Mancuso said. "I had my first podium here, and now I get to say farewell. I’m excited to see where skiing and life’s adventure will take me next!"