ARE, Sweden Feb. 9, 2007 (USST Release)—Julia Mancuso (Olympic Valley, CA), crediting a change in attitude to weather delays last week, stormed through the lone run of slalom Friday to earn the silver medal in super combined - the second for the U.S. Ski Team after four races - behind Anja Paerson of Sweden at the 2007 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships.
Paerson, the super G champion Tuesday as racing began three days behind schedule at the championships, won in 1:57.69 while Mancuso became the first U.S. skier to medal in a major championship in three consecutive years. Her combined time for the downhill and the one run of slalom was 1:58.50 with Austrian Marlies Schild taking bronze (1:58.54). Kaylin Richardson (Edina, MN), an eye-opening 14th in the downhill, was 12th overall with a two-run time of 2:00.94.
The men return to action Saturday at 6:30 a.m. ET with Bode Miller (Bretton Woods, NH) the defending downhill champion. http://www.NBCsports.com target=_blank> NBCsports.com and http://www.MediaZone.com target=_blank> MediaZone.com are providing live coverage of every race through the end of the championships on Feb. 18. There also is live interval timing available at http://livetiming.usskiteam.com
Two years ago, Mancuso made her international breakthrough with the bronze medal in both super G and giant slalom at the 2005 World Championships in Bormio, Italy. Last winter, she was Olympic GS gold medalist...and now silver medalist as super combined.
"I just have a nice little box at home and I'm collecting them," she laughed at a post-race press conference, adding that she finds it interesting to learn more about previous U.S. medals success. "I still go into every race to do my best," she said.
Coach: Mancuso is big-stage performer
"Julia, really knows how to turn it on, doesn't she?" asked Women's SL/GS Head Coach Chris Knight. After inspecting the slalom course and taking a couple of runs, he said, she was having trouble with her boots, so he told her to change into her giant slalom boots, which should be more comfortable. "It worked perfectly."
"I couldn't get 'em off. They were so stiff. It was the worst warmup I've ever had, so I just went back and got my GS boots," she explained.
"I think the combined, compared to every other event, is sort of something a little bit more about perseverance," she said. "And for me making it down the slalom and coming across the finish line in first was sort of like I knew when I was leaving the gate I had to fight all the way to the finish. [pagebreak]
"And, I mean, that's what the combined is - just fighting...all the way..."
Mancuso - who has won a downhill, super G and a super combined (in Altenmarkt-Zauchensee, Austria, leading a 1-2-4 U.S. showing) this season for the first World Cup victories of her career - was sixth in the super G Tuesday and said she "did a pretty good job" in the downhill, even though Paerson led by nearly a full second. She was 0.86 ahead of Kildow, 0.95 up on Mancuso. (Coincidentally, Mancuso said she was wearing her downhill boots for the slalom in Zauchensee; Thursday was the only day she has trained slalom since that super combi win a month ago, she said.)
But, heading into the slalom Friday, she wasn't intimidated, even though SL is her worst event and she had a dismal warmup. "I haven't trained too much slalom so I just charged," Mancuso said. She produced the fifth-fastest slalom time; though she said she's not planning to ski the slalom in another week in the final stages of Worlds. Schild had the fastest SL run while Paerson, skiing consistently with the big lead from the DH, had the sixth-fastest slalom time.
"In Zauchensee, it was sort of a day like Anja's. I was so far ahead in thee downhill I knew to just to ski consistent in the slalom, so this was a little bit different. I knew that I had to really make up time in the slalom as well...so whenever I stand in the slalom gate I'm never thinking I'm the favorite, but it's pretty cool to come across the finish line in first, even without believing that I will be...
Mancuso: "Different attitude" pays off nicely
"Coming in here, and having it being snowy and the delays, I sort of took on a different attitude. I was very relaxed and I'm enjoying my time in Sweden. And even today I got up and I didn't feel very nervous. I'm just enjoying my time in Sweden. I'm not putting too much pressure on the races and just taking what I get.
"It's really cool. Going into the championships, my goal was to get a medal, and so now I have it, especially in the combined, which I feel is one of the most difficult events I'm entering...It feels good."
Paerson had led the downhill run, which began at 12:30 p.m. local time, with Lindsey Kildow (Vail, CO) - super G silver medalist behind Paerson three days earlier - second and Mancuso third. However, after the slalom began at 4 p.m. under the glare of the lights lining the course, Kildow ran into problems on the lower half of the 61-gate run and missed a gate in a flush. A short time earlier, Resi Stiegler (Jackson Hole, WY) was leading when she straddled a gate midway through her slalom.
"I thought it was a good run," Richardson said of her slalom. "I've been on the speed circuit for so long it's taking a little while to get my timing back (for SL).... I'm totally happy with it; I wish it were faster but I think it's a very good platform for the slalom coming up next Friday...
"Twelfth in my first Worlds - I'm pleased," she said.
"Lindsey had a good run going," Knight said, "but she's having the same problem Julia had earlier in the season - just not enough time in slalom training. She gets through 70 percent of a course just great, but then she doesn't have the feel for going the whole way. I'm psyched for Kaylin's result and Resi had another hot run going, but then she lost it. When she puts it all together and gets to the finish, she's always in there...but she's got to get to the finish."
Bode Miller (Bretton Woods, NH) has the most Olympic and Worlds medals by a U.S. skier with seven followed by Picabo Street with five - two from the Olympics, three from World Championships. Phil Mahre, Billy Kidd, Cindy Nelson, Christin Cooper, Tamara McKinney and Andrea Mead Lawrence earned four apiece.
The next women's race is Sunday with the downhill before the championships switch next week to running gates with the four-skier team event closing Worlds Feb. 18.
2007 FIS ALPINE WORLD SKI CHAMPIONSHIPS
Are, SWE - Feb. 9, 2007
Women's super combined (DH/1-run SL)
1. Anja Paerson, Sweden, (1/6) 1:57.69
2. Julia Mancuso, Olympic Valley, CA, (3/5) 1:58.50
3. Marlies Schild, Austria, (10/1) 1:58.54
4. Sarka Zahrobska, Czech Republic, (11/2) 1:58.74
5. Kathrin Zettel, Austria, (17/4) 1:59.60
12. Kaylin Richardson, Edina, MN, (14/15) 2:00.94-
Lindsey Kildow, Vail, CO; Resi Stiegler, Jackson Hole, WY
www.fis-ski.com/uk/604/1228.html?event_id=22108&cal_suchsector=AL target=_blank> Click for complete results