The FIS Alpine World Ski Championships roll on with Squaw Valley’s Julia Mancuso making it clear “the color of the medal I want is gold.” The women’s downhill is set for Sunday in Schladming, Austria.
Mancuso, despite a significant mistake in the downhill portion of Friday’s super combined, clicked with her best slalom performance to finish eighth. Teammates Lauren Ross of Bend, Ore. was 11th and Stacey Cook of Mammoth Mt., Calif. was 18th.
“I knew it was going to be a really big fight for the gold medal today,” Mancuso said. “Both courses were in perfect condition. I had made a mistake in the downhill so I wasn’t expecting much. I was just trying to get some more practice on this downhill and on my slalom skis.
“You’ll see me on Sunday. I’ll be racing and I will be going fast. The color of the medal I want is gold. If you want to win, you have to have an absolute best run and be on the limit. It’s going to be really cool to see what our team can do. We’ve got three other athletes who can be on the podium and not one of us came her for anything other than a medal.”
American Lindsey Vonn was injured in a super-G crash Tuesday at the Worlds and is out for the season. She is expected to undergo surgery in Vail, Colo. Mancuso and all others will be aiming at out-pacing Slovenia’s Tina Maze who has been on top of the podium numerous times this season.
In other major competition news, the USA’s Michaela Shiffrin, from Eagle-Vail, Colo., has been named the U.S. Olympic Committee’s Athlete of the Month for January. She became the first U.S. woman to win two FIS World Cups in a single season before age 18 when she snagged the prestigious Snow Queen trophy in Zagreb early in the New Year.
“It’s really exciting to be nominated for this award and humbling to win,” Shiffrin said. “It proves to myself that I actually am competing on a global scale. It’s not my little races in New Hampshire anymore.”
Meanwhile, in Laax, Switzerland, the Burton European Snowboarding Open is underway and already looking great for Americans. Arielle Gold, from Steamboat Springs, Colo., led a USA sweep in the halfpipe for her first career major tour victory.
Olympic champion Kelly Clark, from W. Dover, Vt., was second, and Ellery Hollingsworth of Stratton Mt., Vt., third. Scotty Lago of Seabrook, N.H. was third and was the top U.S. men’s finisher. The event was being hassled by low light and fog.