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American Julia Mancuso records 3rd fastest time at Olympic downhill training run

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Although she has experienced a lackluster World Cup season thus far, don’t rule out the possibility that Julia Mancuso will be on the medal stand at the 2014 Winter Olympics.

In a training run Thursday on the challenging downhill course in Sochi, the Squaw Valley skier registered the third fastest time.

Anna Fenninger of Austria had the fastest time in a training run that had to be halted early on so workers could alter a harrowing jump that had some skiers concerned. Fenninger finished the tricky course in 1 minute, 41.73 seconds to put herself 0.21 seconds ahead of Fraenzi Aufdenblatten of Switzerland.

Mancuso had the third fastest training run time and apparently the jump didn’t worry Mancuso too much.

“It was smooth,” Mancuso said of the last jump. “You’re going a little bit slower than most downhills and then it just shoots up. It feels more difficult than it is.”

The Women’s Downhill is scheduled to take place Wednesday afternoon in Sochi. At the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver, Mancuso took second to Lindsay Vonn in the downhill and also captured a silver medal in women’s combined

“This course is technical and faster than I thought,” Mancuso said. “It’s definitely faster than (Vancouver).”

Mancuso, 29, is certainly a name to watch in Sochi. She has a history of excelling when the pressure is at its greatest. Now competing in her fourth Olympics, she definitely has the experience. Mancuso captured a gold medal in the 2006 giant slalom.

To signify the accomplishment, Squaw Valley named a run in Mancuso’s honor – “Julia’s Gold.”

I’m excited about Sochi,” Mancuso said. “There’s something so special about the Olympics and really being able to show the world your sport and compete your best. I want to win another gold medal in Sochi, that would be a success. But ultimately I just want to be proud of my races. I want to go in there feeling confident and leaving it all on the hill.”