Women’s Super Combined, Feb. 18
“I came here to put the past behind me, move
The girls barely had time to blink before they were
back on Franz’s the very next morning, starting a
tad lower and meeting slightly smoother snow and
a finish jump that had been shaved down to more
of a nubby roller.
Other than that, the first part of the race had
some of the same standouts as the day before.
Lindsey Vonn led by three tenths of a second,
followed by a freshly fearless Maria Riesch; once
again Julia Mancuso was right in there, 0.80 sec-
The slalom portion of the race was when the real
surprises came into play.
The real miracle story was that of Anja Paerson.
After the previous day’s horrific downhill crash,
the Swede went to the hospital and though she
hadn’t broken or torn anything, she was covered
in bruises and was so stiff and sore, she could
scarcely walk. She waited until the very last sec-
ond to decide if she would race at all. Then she
put down the fastest slalom time of the day and
walked away with the bronze medal.
“I wouldn’t be able to win a beauty contest today,”
she joked after the race. “But I don’t care how I
look as long as I can ski ... as long as I can manage
The other two medals came down to the final
three on course. Though Mancuso has had several
great downhill combined runs this season, the
slalom had always been what slowed her down.
(Though she was third after the first run in St.
Moritz, she ended up 14th there and in Val d’Isere,
she DNFed.) But this
was the Olympics and
Mancuso was charged
with Olympic magic
and one silver medal,
so she dredged up her
dormant slalom talent
and crossed the finish
line ahead of Paerson,
screaming and kicking
up her legs in glee.
forward and really rip it up, I’ve had great
training days in slalom, so I wasn’t surprised
I could ski slalom. But I was surprised that it
was that fast.” JULIA MANCUSO