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No magic this time for Julia Mancuso; U.S. skier takes 8th in women's downhill

Switzerland's Dominique Gisin and Tina Maze of Slovania tied and shared the gold medal.
Switzerland's Dominique Gisin and Tina Maze of Slovania tied and shared the gold medal.
Squaw Valley ski resort

Julia Mancuso, a U.S. skier from from Squaw Valley ski resort in Lake Tahoe, finished eighth in the women’s downhill at the Sochi Olympics.

U.S. skier Laurenne Ross of Bend, Ore., was 11th and Stacy Cook, who skis out of Mammoth Mountain, took 17th.

It wasn’t a great day for Mancuso, but an historic one in the Winter Olympics. Switzerland's Dominique Gisin and Tina Maze of Slovania tied and shared the gold medal.

Maze sped down the steep course to match Gisin, creating the first tie in Olympic alpine race history.

“You see ties in speedskating where they are going the exact same distance,” Cook said. “We’re going over 2 miles in under 2 minutes, and then there was the different lines that those two took.”

Mancuso won her first of four record-setting alpine medals by claiming the gold at the 2006 Torino Olympics. She followed up four years later at the Vancouver Olympics with a silver medal in downhill.
Her best finish on the World Cup this season was seventh.

Mancuso, 29, got too much air on a jump midway through the downhill course that has sections ominously called Devil’s Spin and Bolshoi Traverse. Mancuso failed to adjust enough after that, and finished in eighth place, almost a second slower than the two winners.

“I’m more of an instinct skier,” Mancuso said. “Thinking too much takes me out of my game and I forget what to do with my body. I wasn’t in my best state of mind or body. I feel like I want to hit the re-set button.”

Lara Gut of Switzerland won the bronze medal. She was 0.10 seconds behind at the Rosa Khutor Alpine Center in Sochi.

Mancuso has two events remaining in the Sochi Olympics. Her next event is the super-G on Saturday. She is trying to win her fifth medal to match Bode Miller as America's most decorated Olympic skier.

For Cook, a three-time Olympian who grew up in Truckee before moving to Mammoth as a teenager, it was a disappointing performance.

“Maybe after missing that gate in the Super Combined (on Monday), I was holding on a little too much,” Cook said

Cook, 29, missed a pre-race training run that was canceled Tuesday because of poor conditions. She said it was difficult to trust the course without the proper practice time.