History made during Olympic skiing

KRASNAYA POLYANA, Russia — Julia Mancuso, seeking to tie Bode Miller atop the all-time list of U.S. skiers with five Olympic medals, didn't make history Wednesday in the women's downhill, finishing eighth.

But the race itself did.

For the first time in Olympic history, an alpine skiing race ended in a dead heat for the gold medal — or gold medals, in this case.

This was the fifth medal tie overall in Olympic alpine skiing. There have been three ties for second, including the USA's Diann Roffe Steinrotter tying Anita Wachter of Austria for the silver medal in the giant slalom in 1992. The others were the 1998 men's super-G (Didier Cuche and Hans Knauss) and the 1964 women's giant slalom (the USA's Jean Saubert and France's Christine Goitschel). And, in the 1948 men's downhill, two Swiss skiers tied for the bronze medal.

But there has never been a tie for first.

The previous closest race for gold in Olympic history had been Picabo Street's winning run in the 1998 super-G -0.01 seconds faster than Austrian Michaela Dorfmeister.

Slovenian superstar Tina Maze and unheralded Swiss racer Dominique Gisin had identical times of 1 minute, 41.57 seconds in Wednesday's race. Another Swiss skier, Lara Gut, who came in more of a favorite than Gisin, took the bronze 0.10 seconds back.

Mancuso, 29, of Squaw Valley, Calif., couldn't find the same magic she had on the hill Monday, finishing 0.99 seconds behind the winners.

"It's really crazy," Mancuso said of the tie. "I'm really happy for both girls. It's an amazing show."

Mancuso, who won the downhill portion of the super combined on her way to a bronze medal Monday, started 12th in the downhill and was considered a co-favorite with Germany's Maria Hoefl-Riesch.

But Mancuso got wide on turn and lost a little speed in the middle of the course and finished fourth at the time behind then-leader Gisin, with the heavy hitters still to come.

"I am disappointed with my skiing," Mancuso said. "I made some big mistakes. I would like to have another chance, but it's over. I have to move on to my next event.

"(The course) is tough and really difficult to stay focused on the whole run, but that's what separates the champions from the rest of us on race day."

Hoefl-Riesch, the favorite, started 20th, and was expected to move into the lead. But she was way off -1.17 seconds. She finished 13th.

Then Maze came out of the start hut and attacked hard, looking like she'd take the lead. But when she crossed the finish line and the time popped up, it was the same as Gisin's.

Maze, 30, the defending World Cup overall champion, won two medals in Vancouver four years ago and Wednesday became the first woman representing Slovenia to win three Olympic medals.

Mancuso's search for a fifth medal will have to wait until Saturday's women's super-G.

She just didn't feel like herself Wednesday after being surprised by the big air she got off the first jump.

"I'm a lot more of an instinct skier," she said. "I think I just thought too much today. I didn't let go and let my body kind of do its thing.

"I caught a lot of air after the first jump. It made me a little nervous, and I started thinking too much. I had a plan to try to avoid the bumps but it was the wrong plan.

"I definitely was thinking of attacking. But after I caught all that air, it kind of made me back off a little. I knew speeds were higher and I knew it would feel faster. Instead of trying to go faster, I was kind of waiting. That was definitely my downfall."


To find out more about Facebook commenting please read the
Conversation Guidelines and FAQs

Leave a Comment
More Stories