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Julia Mancuso finishes 8th in Olympic downhill

PAT GRAHAMFebruary 12, 2014

KRASNAYA POYLANA, Russia (AP) — Early in her downhill run, Julia Mancuso caught a lot of air going over a jump and had to flail her arms to keep from falling.

From that point on, the American sped through the course a bit on edge and a little tentative. Not exactly the recipe for a fast race.

Mancuso wound up eighth in the women’s Olympic downhill on Wednesday, finishing nearly a second behind co-winners Dominique Gisin of Switzerland and Tina Maze of Slovenia.

“I’m definitely disappointed,” Mancuso said. “I feel like I had a good chance at a good race.”

Especially since this hill seemed to suit her so well. Two days ago in a super-combined race, Mancuso found the perfect line and was in the lead after the downhill portion. She turned in a solid slalom performance to finish with the bronze medal.

The speed she attained in the downhill had her thinking big on Wednesday, that maybe another medal was possible. But she just couldn’t find the same line and the shadows throughout the course threw her off rhythm.

“I changed my plan a little ... I cut the line off and it did not work,” said the 29-year-old Mancuso, who is from Squaw Valley, Calif. “I’m a lot more of an instinct skier and I think I just thought too much today. I didn’t let go and let my body kind of just do its thing.

“I definitely had moments in the middle where I felt good, but I wasn’t as on it as the super-combined.”

This has been a whirlwind couple of days for Mancuso since capturing her fourth medal at an Olympics, jumping from one television interview to another on Tuesday and then trying to focus on the downhill race.

Now, she’s looking forward to a little rest before her next event, the super-G on Saturday.

“The super-G is a good chance to reset,” she said. “Trust my instincts again.”

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