Julia Mancuso has another super-combined medal to go with her silver in 2010 following Monday's final in Sochi.
Mancuso finished the race in third place with a time of two minutes, 35.15 seconds to secure the bronze. Eurosport provided the top three medalists, while the U.S. Olympic team posted an image of Mancuso's reaction following her final run:
SUPER COMBINED RESULT: Maria Hoefl-Riesch (Germany - Gold), Nicole Hosp (Austria - Silver), Julia Mancuso (USA Bronze)— Eurosport.com EN (@EurosportCom_EN) February 10, 2014
Yahoo! Sports' Charles Robinson shared his thoughts on the event following an exciting finish:
Julia Mancuso gets bronze in super combined. The slalom was a far tougher run than I thought. She should be amped for Wednesday's downhill.— Charles Robinson (@CharlesRobinson) February 10, 2014
Mancuso is the most decorated female skier in United States history. Her four medals (one gold, two silver and now one bronze) best every other female Alpine skier. Brian Pinelli of Around the Rings provided a statement from Mancuso discussing her accomplishments:
Mancuso on being 1st U.S. skier to medal at 3 consec. Olympics,"It's cool, If I can keep the Olympics as my thing, I'm really proud of that"— Brian Pinelli (@Brian_Pinelli) February 10, 2014
She came in pushing for another gold despite being relatively advanced in age for Olympic competition at 29. Mancuso earned her first gold in the giant slalom at Turin eight years ago, but it was her 2010 silvers in the downhill and super combined that surprised most.
With Lindsey Vonn taking most of the headlines, it's often forgotten that Mancuso is the more successful of the two. As Bill Pennington of The New York Times pointed out, even 18-year-old Mikaela Shiffrin was drawing more attention coming into Sochi.
No matter the new blood in the water or lack of headlines she receives, Mancuso has rightfully remained confident.
“I feel confident I’ll win a medal, and I’m more competitive this time," Mancuso said, per Pennington. "Before I just wanted to do my best; now I really want to win a gold medal. I am more driven for that than ever.”
Not only did Mancuso come in having to compete with her own countrywomen, but this year's field in Sochi was as fierce as ever. A knee injury kept Vonn from competing, but Maria Hoefl-Riesch of Germany and Nicole Hosp of Austria came in carrying a ton of momentum.
The Associated Press (via Yahoo! Sports) selected Hoefl-Riesch as the favorite to win super-combined gold, while Hosp is consistently one of the best at that particular event.
The super combined is largely considered Mancuso's worst event, and it is one of the more unique competitions in the Games. It combines the disciplines, with skiers going through a slalom followed by a shortened super-G run. The ability to switch styles midrun is, to some, the best test of a skier's versatility.
Mancuso is far more accomplished in downhill skiing, winning three World Championship medals over the years. The AP selected her as a bronze medalist for the Sochi Games, mostly thanks to her second-place overall finish in the 2013 skiing standings.
Super combined is a different beast entirely, and Mancuso had been struggling coming into Sochi.
She had not made a podium all year, falling to the back of the pack and again finding herself overshadowed. It was a familiar refrain, one that she overcame in Vancouver to take the super-combined silver.
It seems, after Monday's run, that four years can make a difference.