Mancuso masters slush

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CORTINA D’AMPEZZO, Italy (AP) – Julia Mancuso finally is getting the chance to follow up on her Olympic giant slalom title.

Soon after winning gold in Turin last February, Mancuso had right hip surgery and couldn’t walk for a month. Recovery slowed the American at the beginning of this World Cup season.

But now she’s the hottest skier on the women’s circuit, maintaining her focus through a 3-hour rain delay Friday to win a super-giant slalom – her second straight World Cup victory. She won a super-combi last Sunday in Altenmarkt, Austria, a day after finishing third in a downhill there.

“The Olympics were a stepping stone for me. I accomplished one of my childhood dreams and now on the World Cup, I’m taking it one day at a time, one race at a time,” said Mancuso, who moved into third place in the overall World Cup standings.

Mancuso is one of the few skiers who competes in all five World Cup events, and her three wins this season have come in three different disciplines – downhill, combined and now super-G.

“It’s definitely going across the board with my skiing,” she said. “For me, it’s not really about the discipline. I just feel such a connection with my skis.”

That connection was especially important Friday. The course was soft following several hours of rain, and many skiers struggled with the conditions.

“I didn’t think we were going to race but I was ready to ski, that’s for sure,” Mancuso said.

In fading light, she sped down the Olympia delle Tofane course in 1 minute, 16.25 seconds.

Nicole Hosp of Austria was second, 0.33 seconds behind, and Renate Goetschl, who holds the record of nine wins in Cortina, was third, 0.34 back. Mancuso’s U.S. teammate, Lindsey Kildow, tied for fourth with Andrea Fischbacher of Austria, 0.39 behind.

Kildow thought the race should have been canceled. The temperature at race time was a balmy 45 degrees in the finish area.

“It was so slushy that it was a joke. You don’t have races in these conditions, and they shouldn’t have had the race,” Kildow said. “I’m happy that Julia won.”

Two-time overall World Cup champion Anja Paerson finished sixth. Marlies Schild skied off course midway through her run, but retained her current overall lead.

Schild has 881 points. Hosp is second with 828 points and Mancuso is third with 634.

Goetschl, who won the opening two super-G races this season, maintained her lead in the discipline standings. Goetschl has 260 points, followed by Hosp with 196, Kildow with 130 and Mancuso with 113.

“I’m not disappointed. I’m very happy with third place,” Goetschl said.

“The conditions were very tough and it was hard to keep focused.”

Skiers waited through four delays before the rain finally stopped and the race began. At one point during the delay, Mancuso went down to her trailer and watched a couple of movies with teammates Resi Stiegler and Kaylin Richardson.

“One is a secret. The other was “The Big Lebowski,”‘ Mancuso said.

Poor weather forces cancellation of training

VAL D’ISERE, France (AP) – Wind and rain forced the cancellation of training Friday for the men’s World Cup downhill in Val d’Isere this weekend.

The French Alpine resort will host a downhill today and super-combined Sunday.

The races were moved from Chamonix to Val d’Isere, which has more snow.

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