American superstar Julia Mancuso leads the women's super combined after a magnificent time of one minute and 42.68 seconds at Sochi 2014.
The veteran skier powered through the stages to roll back the years and destroy the field.
The Californian is the USA's most decorated athlete in the event, having won a gold in giant slalom in Torino in 2006 and silvers in downhill and super combined in Vancouver in 2010, per USA Today.
Mancuso, 29, has always somewhat lived in the shadow of teammate Lindsey Vonn, who is missing the Games due to a knee injury, per The Daily Mail.
The current standings are as follows:
|6||Lotte Smiseth Sejersted||Norway||1:43.85|
Defending Olympic Champion Maria Hoefl-Riesch of Germany could only muster a fifth-place finish with a time of 1:43.72.
Mancuso has a healthy lead moving forward over her nearest rival, Lara Gut of Switzerland, who clocked 1:43.15—almost half a second slower than the American.
Tina Maze of Slovenia was third with a time of 1:43.54.
NBC's Joe Battaglia tweeted about how important Mancuso's lead was to her, in the skier's quest for yet another Olympic medal:
The nearly half-second advantage is super important for @JuliaMancuso because her downhill is SIGNIFICANTLY better than her slalom— Joe Battaglia (@JoeBattaglia75) February 10, 2014
Mancuso has suffered a poor season but feels that she hits her stride later than most of her competition.
She recently commented, per USA Today's David Leon Moore:
I would also say in my career that I have always had better results later in the season. I blame it on the cold growing up in California. It starts to get warmer in February. In general, it's a good opportunity and it excites me so I want to do well and, I don't know, everything just seems to come together.
Later on Monday, the skiers will take two runs down the slalom course to finish off the event. Those runs are scheduled to begin at 6 a.m. ET.
Despite being plus-1:04 behind Mancuso, Hoefl-Riesch is still very much in contention to wrestle the gold away and retain her title. However, Maze and Gut have positioned themselves perfectly, with Mancuso's weaker discipline to come.
It promises to be a sensational finish with a titanic battle for the medal places. And for Manusco there is added incentive, since she can become the first American skier to medal in three consecutive Games. With history on the line, expect the intensity to rise.