Tag Archives: Lindsey Vonn

Julia Mancuso’s Comeback Year: Downhill Gold at FIS Alpine World Cup Finals & More

Universal Sports/ Giovanni Auletta/ Associated Press

Just over a year ago Julia Mancuso made her comeback on the stage of all stages: the Winter Olympic Games. Leaving Vancouver with two silver medals, she went on to Alpine World Cup bronze, as well as wildcard bronze at the Freeride World Tour Closer.

Her climb back to the top continued this season with a World Championship silver in Super G, and multiple trips to the World Cup podium particularly in Downhill and Super G.

To top it all off she had a fantastic golden run for Downhill at the World Cup Finals in Lezerheide (1 minute 27.50 seconds), with a third place overall discipline finish. She is up from fifth last season.

Hence the bottom-of-the-hill celebration above!

Universal Sports

The  World Cup Final gold was her fifth career win on the tour. Mancuso wrote, “It’s so great to win… It’s been four years, and only my fifth World Cup victory ever, so standing on the podium felt awesome!” and “Lindsey won the DH title for the year, and I finish 3rd! It’s been great to finish so consistent, and that also makes our US team the winner in the team downhill points too!”

Pretty awesome stuff.

Mancuso finished .81 (which, as the Olympics taught Jimmy Fallon, is like, totally a lot) ahead of Switzerland’s Lara Gut;  Elisabeth Goergl of Germany came in third.

Gut, Mancuso, Goergl/ Universal Sports/ Giovanni Auletta/ Associated Press

Mancuso’s third place ranking overall for Downhill came after silver at Cortina d’Ampezzo and fourth at Lake Louise. Lindsey Vonn took the title; Maria Riesch came in second.

Riesch, Vonn, Mancuso/ Kiyoko Kipo Press CH

Mancuso also had a great season for Super G, claiming third overall for that disciple as well after taking bronze at Lake Louise, fourth at Cortina D’Ampezzo, silver at the Championships in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, bronze at Are, and silver at Tarvisio.

The Super G race scheduled for the Finals was canceled due to weather. As per FIS guidelines canceled races are not rescheduled—hence all the Vonn-Riesch drama that resulted from two canceled races last week.

And drumroll…

After all this season’s hard work, Mancuso finished overall—across all disciplines—in fifth place behind Riesch, Vonn, Tina Maze and Goergl.

Congratulations on a great season Julia!

***

Also, now would be a great time for the snow to stop and for the weather to behave and be warm and spring-like.

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Anticlimax at Lenzerheide: Riesch-Vonn Season Finale Canceled, Riesch Takes Overall Title

Vonn, Riesch, Tina Maze on Overall Podium/ Universal Sports/ Wolfgang Rattay/ Reuters

After a week of warm, wet weather in Lenzerheide, Switzerland, the women’s overall title came down to three points and two canceled races.

Germany’s Maria Riesch led American Lindsey Vonn for much of the season, though they did pass the lead back and forth. This week of World Cup Finals was to be an epic duel between the two. Vonn overcame a 200 point deficit to arrive only 23 points behind Riesch at the beginning of this week of competition.

Vonn then earned 50 points from her Downhill performance, leading Riesch by 27 points on Wednesday, while her rival failed to earn any points, landing devastated in 17th place.

Riesch Slalom, Run 1/ Universal Sports/ Wolfgang Rattay/ Reuters

Not to be outdone, Riesch struck back in the Slalom on Friday, gleaning a narrow margin of 3 points over Vonn—otherwise known as .02 seconds.

I mean… seriously. Ser-i-ous-ly.

With the Super G canceled on Thursday, the world of ladies Alpine skiing was to come down to a final head-to-head duel in Saturday’s Giant Slalom.

The weather would not have it. Warm, wet, foggy:

“It is basically the same situation that we saw yesterday for the men’s race,” said FIS women’s World Cup race director Atle Skaardal. “There is a crust on top of the snow and nothing underneath. It’s impossible to ski on such a soft crust. The situation is not skiable for a GS race.” (FIS)

Riesch apparently found out about the cancellation as she was leaving for the slopes:

“I was in front of the hotel. Some people at the balcony said, ‘Yeah, it’s officially canceled.’ I didn’t believe at first,” she said. “We were crying, full of happiness” (Universal Sports).

Riesch, Vonn/ Universal Sports/ Wolfgang Rattay/ Reuters

Three. Points. 1,728-1725.

Vonn of course was “devastated” not to have had a chance to defend the overall World Cup title she has held for three straight years, noting of course that Riesch is one of her best friends and “had an outstanding season and again proved to be my biggest competitor. She’s worked really hard for this. I’m happy for her” (Universal Sports).

Still, ending the season that way, winner or loser is kind of a bummer. Oh well.

Riesch/ Universal Sports/ Christian Hartman/ Reuters

At least Riesch has that massive crystal globe to cheer her up, and Vonn still has three sitting at home, plus three new [smaller] trophies for the three discipline wins she collected this week.

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FIS World Cup Women & Wondering Where the Team Event Went

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The award for best location name goes to Garmisch-Partenkirchen for the Audi FIS World Cup Finals in Germany. Self-explanatory.

UniversalSports.com

The expected and the unexpected went down this week during the final events of the Alpine season. The names we learned to love during the Olympics were out in full force, plus a few that perhaps we had missed. The rivalry spotlight got redirected to Lindsey Vonn versus Marie Riesch of Germany and the [non]race for the overall title. Julia Mancuso continued to ski strong post Olympics and Crans-Montana, skiing into fifth place for the downhill, only her second time inside the top ten in the past two years. Junior downhill champion Jeromine Geroudet posted a respectable time in her first World Cup race, winning applause from field leaders Vonn, Riesch and Anja Paerson.

UniversalSports.com

And although prior to claiming her third overall World Cup title Vonn was heard to say that “She’s always on my tail.. Anything’s still possible, nothing’s over until it’s over: Just keep fighting and hopefully I can do it.” Closest contender for the title,  Marie Riesch laughed it off and cut to the chase saying, “I don’t think that she really believes it,” but Riesch certainly gave Vonn a run for her money through the entire competition, including the downhill final in which she bested Vonn by .48.. which– as Jimmy Fallon noted– is a lot. It must have been the excellent zebra-striped speed suit that Riesch and the other German ladies rock. A commentator referred to her as “the big woman, the iron maiden of Germany.” He did.

UniversalSports.com

In the end, Vonn took home the coveted crystal globe, her third consecutive overall title. She also clinched the globes for downhill, super G and Combined. Riesch took the slalom season title, and fellow German teammate Kathrin Hoelzl battled it out with Kathrin Zettel of Austria for the Giant Slalom, on a course that was eating people alive.  All in all it looks like Lindsey Vonn’s raging game-face at the gate has a winning element to it.

Words To Bumble favorite Julia Mancuso’s strong showing included ninth rank in overall downhill after a fifth place finish in the final during which commentators marveled over her Olympic comeback and her lingerie line. It was a little weird– they got completed sidetracked talking about Kiss My Tiara during Nadja Styger’s run (following directly after Mancuso), waxing poetic about the “free-flowing, free-spirited Julia Mancuso”. Commentators Steve Porino and Todd Brooker also illuminated viewers as to Mancuso’s nickname– Midas– with “maybe not the golden touch but the silver touch… Her ability to perform on the big stage is unbelievable. She has something to prove… she wanted the spotlight in Whistler and she got it!” As the pulled ahead of Italian Johanna Schnarf’s leading time they cried, “The momentum she started in Whistler, Canada– still there!”

In addition to her high downhill placement, Mancuso ended the season ranked 16th in the super G (despite crashing in the final), 22nd in the combined and 28th with Vonn for the GS. Looking forward to seeing her continue the comeback tour on next season’s World Cup.

And now for reasons that I am upset: there is an epic Nations Team Event with skiers from both the men’s and women’s teams of each contending country. It is a parallel giant slalom race, 16 round elimination format, four skiers per heat. Sounds awesomely epic right?

Yes. But is Universal Sports airing it? Not so far as I can tell. Not OK. Not. OK. Plus now the results are up and video appears to be no where in existence. This investigation is ongoing and unhappy.

UPDATE: Plus we now find out that Mancuso will be competing on the Bec de Rosses at Verbier as a wild card entry next weekend for the 15th annual Nissan Xtreme close to the Freeride World Tour.

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Julia Mancuso Hits the World Cup Podium

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What better way to end two years off the podium than with two trips during the Olympics?

Follow it up with a trip to the FIS World Cup Super G podium in Crans-Montana the next week.

After her Olympic silver medals Mancuso said, “I just wanna go out and leave the past behind and do the best that I can.”

2010 is shaping up pretty nicely for Julia Mancuso. She made a sweet comeback during the Olympics, survived her media blitz, came across much more fabulously than Lindsey Vonn, had not one but two fantastic Visa spots, Colorshow wrote her a song and she is a trending topic in this blog. Lucky lady.

During her blitz she hit up The Ellen DeGeneres Show, George Lopez Tonight, The Daily Ten, The Bonnie Hunt Show, Access Hollywood, Larry King Live and probably more.

Over the course we learned about her tiara wearing tendencies–“My coach gave it to me as a gag gift” and it is like “bringing a piece of my coaches up on the podium with me’–, her underwear line– “I took a thousand pair of underwear up [to Vancouver]”– and her skiing philosophy: “Skiing’s always been about fun for me.”

She also continued to furnish comments on the controversy/non-controversy regarding Lindsey Vonn: “We do things a little differently and it turned into this thing… [just because we] don’t march to the same beat of a drum.” Clearly the whole business has gotten quite tiresome, “It’s kind of funny–like almost Hollywood– It was almost like someone put it out there that we need a story.”

With Access Hollywood off the gossip beat, the story is now about Mancuso tearing it up at Crans-Montana and heading into the FIS World Cup Finals in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany.

UniversalSports.com

Mancuso held the lead through a series of competitors until Vonn and then Dominique Gisin (who you may recall as the Swiss woman who had a terrible rag-doll-like crash on the Olympic downhill course) came out on top after a disappointing downhill the previous day: “You can see the hunger is back in the skiing of Dominique Gisin!”

Final standings: Gisin 1:24.14, Vonn 1:24.29, Mancuso 1:24.52.

UniversalSports.com

Mancuso had a great race, garnering the comment that “No one does it better than Julia Mancuso” when it comes to getting back on her game, focusing and bringing it all. She caught previous leader Maria Riesch by three tenths: “really clean, really aggressive, just carrying on from her Olympic glory.”

Isn’t it fun when the Olympics make one discover Universal Sports and their wide online streaming video offerings? It is also comforting to know that obscure winter sports commentators are still there for me post-Vancouver.

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Closing Ceremonies: I Almost Ran Out of Words

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Shortly before the Vancouver 2010 closing ceremonies were upon us, I came across a tweet that echoed my feelings almost perfectly:

@SethMeyers21 Nice work Winter Olympics. Now don’t blow it with an over emphasis on ice and whales at closing ceremony.

Now to be fair, we were warned that the closing ceremonies were going to end up a bit campy. We were not, however, warned that they would be emotionally scarring. Remember, for instance the small child on inline skates dressed like a hockey puck, who looked downright terrified (and also really resentful of whoever got him the gig) in the midst of those gigantic and horrendous cutout hockey players. Add to that the enormous inflated beavers, the midriff girl maple leaves, the real and oversized Mounties, the slutty Mounties, the men dancing in canoes… it was mayhem, and not the good kind (by which I clearly mean short track, the best kind of mayhem ever).

nbcolympics.com

The beginning was OK; with the knowledge of what was to come I might even call it quite nice. The look forward to what we can expect for Sochi 2014 was a delight– an orchestra playing in the snow in Red Square, classy (the Sochi gear that people were already wearing was a reminder that Russian fashion definitely peaked around 1982, but I won’t dwell. Not until 2014).

The athletes marching in was heartwarming as usual. Ralph Lauren dressed the Americans up like New England-themed paper dolls. It was picturesque.

popwatch.com

At first I forgot that the athletes get a specially designed outfit for their march, and since the cameras immediately honed in on Apolo Ohno I had a moment thinking, “Well that’s adorable, look at Apolo wearing a plaid shirt and tie with an old man cardigan, he looks so happy and Ivy League…” and then, “Oh hey, that  other guy is rocking Williamsburg plaid too… Wait a minute! Oh, Ralph Lauren you sly dog, you tricked me into thinking that your Olympic gear is real clothing!”

nbcolympics.com

As a sidebar, if you are a millionaire, you can go to the Polo store on Madison Avenue and get your own high-end Olympian gear. I would like very much for someone to purchase me one of those old man cardigans with the enormous Polo logo, the turn over collar and that authentic five ring appliqué. Or you know, if you have one and you are never going to wear it again, send it my way. I will wear it all the time. I think it is jaunty.

Ahem.

At one point during all this marching, either Bob Costas or Al Michaels said, “This may seem corny to some, but this is what the Olympic games are supposed to be about.” I have to admit that I really like seeing how happy everyone is and for once in my life I find myself judgement free watching the athletes snap pictures of the crowd and, even better, with each other. Again the cameras found Ohno getting a shot with one of the hockey players. A girl with what appeared to be a broken leg was carried in by two teammates. Evan Lysacek was rocking his gold medal and having a fine time. Everyone was wearing ridiculous moose antler crown thingies. It was nice. My heart was warmed.

You know what’s great about the Olympics? They make you forget about all the people whose dreams have not come true.

But  you know, it is kind of nice for two weeks to let yourself become invested in and stoked about people who worked hard and were lucky enough for that hard work to have paid off in the ultimate sporting way– even if the closing ceremonies make me say snarky things like the above.

examiner.com

The arena went quiet as Neil Young– who Costas described as “still rocking in the real world after forty-some years”– sang “Long May You Run,” and the flame petered out. People around the world felt a sudden emptiness inside. I wondered what I would do without obscure winter sports to keep me occupied. Al Michaels would later reflect that, “when the cauldron descended I felt like everybody here was like ‘No, no, no– we’re not ready for this party to end.'”

And then it all went to hell.

William Shatner’s monologue seemed lost and torn between various tonal choices, as if six writers had gotten together, each written their own script and then told a non-English speaking intern to paste the bits together. When Catherine O’Hara appeared out of the ground I got really excited and then she bombed with a drawn-out joke about Canadian politesse: “We just like to say ‘sorry,’ It’s our real national past time. The delightful Michael J. Fox was not a whole lot better and the tinker tot graphics that accompanied him were mind boggling.

NBC kept hopefully resorting to their Vonn-cam in hopes that her delighted face would make it appear that things were going well. Lindsey Vonn, of course, in her never-ending quest to be the most overexposed athlete of the games willingly obliged.

On our end, Kathleen just exclaimed, “You are ruining the Olympics.” I felt similarly let down.

latimes.com

The mayhem had not even started at this point. It is difficult to even recount the dismay felt when the giant hockey players, mounties, moose and beavers appeared. I can only hope that in person it was less distressing because I would hate to be an Olympian who just battled through two weeks of grueling competition, stayed around to march with my countrymen in the closing ceremonies and then ended up with retina scarred by inflatable woodland creatures and Canadian stereotypes.

Best description of the theatrical meltdown belongs to Matt: “This is a Mel Brooks musical.” And yet not nearly as entertaining. What an awful day to be a Mountie.

At 10:20 an exasperated Kathleen cried, “Thank God The Marriage Ref is on in ten minutes, because I need to break up with Canada… I literally want to die now. Like, I really enjoyed these Olympics. I went to the gym because of these Olympics.” She did. She even signed up for a 6:45 am spin class. “It’s so un-Olympics!”

Sigh. Sour notes indeed. As if the end of the Olympic games is not bittersweet to begin with, this made it downright unpleasant. I certainly hope that the people who were there managed to have a good time. Maybe being in a tiny Manhattan apartment, stewing in my own failure to have achieved my dreams had something to do with my distaste.

But I’m pretty sure that it was actually out of control. A few Olympian tweets from the ceremony/ensuing concert that included Nickelback & Simple Plan (a more evidence for my judgement):

@airblais Wow…really playing up the stereotypes!

@airblais Nooooooooooo Nickleback! Omg…this hurts!

@SeanCrooks Get a new album Avril. I said it.

@SeanCrooks Ok , just clear it up. Hedley and Simple Plan…No

Of course most people were more positive about the situation– basking in the glow as is their right– very Olympian of them. You can go on twitter yourself for those, there are far too many.

At any rate, it’s over. We’ve had to say goodnight and goodbye to Bob Costas who sent us off into the night with “the traditional cavalcade of Olympic images” to the tune of John Williams’ inspired Olympian theme.

Until we meet again.

*******

I’m just kidding. This week will see a series of Olympic recaps featuring Olympian advertising, a few top ten lists, profiles on some favorite ssuch as Mary Carillo the queen of the late night Olympic coverage, Johnny Weir and more. In fact, if you have a request feel free to leave a comment and I will see what I can do. It is going to be a process in which we mingle the Olympic with regular bloggy programming. Together we can slowly wean ourselves off the Olympics with minimal postsportum depression, hahaha.

Sorry for that.

I also plan to do what I can in the future to keep up with a few of my featured obscure winter sports for the future, to get us all through to Sochi. So stay tuned!

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Giant Slalom Aftermath & Olympic Helmet Fashion

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In the aftermath of Wednesday’s awful Giant Slalom weather and the Vonn-Mancuso situation there were a lot of sound bites flying around regarding their relationship over the years and at present. Bottom line: the two are “polar opposite personalities,” and as the GS commentators pointed out: “that’s just one of the realities of  being on a national team” and of being lifelong competitors.

Vonn has her ‘I’m-1000x-more-intense-than-you’ attitude, embodied best by her pre-race visage, while Mancuso prefers a “don’t sweat the small stuff attitude.” The only thing scarier than Vonn’s game face huffs and glares is the legit roar that fellow teammate Sarah Schleper lets out just before heading out the gate.

After yesterday morning’s second run at 1:34.13 Mancuso was relaxed saying, “I’m not nervous cause it’s like a miracle, you know? It’s all I can do.” Unfortunately she ended up unable to reclaim her gold with an eight place finish but the run was a great comeback from the previous days trauma-drama. Plus, she had tickets to see the women’s figure skating free skate… so that’s pretty much a win, and her tweets throughout the evening were pretty positive.

Late night coverage aired a Bob Costas interview with Mancuso where she talked about the rarity of seeing a yellow flag in GS and how confusing that foggy day of first runs was. She also responded to her previous comments about Vonn getting all the attention and making it difficult for the achievements of other women on the team to be seen and appreciated: “I wold love to see our team just cheer for each other… and there are a bunch of other girls out there skiing really fast… not just me and Lindsey.” Of course such PR repairs are expected, but truly, Vonn’s crash did inadvertently ruin Mancuso’s chance for a fair first run and that’s just the truth and some bitterness was to be expected. Furthermore, Mancuso has a point… who are those other speedy skiing ladies, and why don’t we know any of them? Point.

To sum it up: “I was proud of my effort out there… these things happen. It was outside of my control to get a fair chance, but it really has been a great games, so I can be excited to go home like that.”

As for Sochi, 25-year-old Mancuso says we’ll see her there for a fourth games: “I love to ski.” And in the meantime, “I just remember how much fun it is to travel the world and ski and live my dream job.”

And I like that about her.

What else?

NBCnewyork.com

Check out this link to NBC New York. They’ve put together a slide show of the most awesome helmets of the Vancouver 2010 games. Look for the beaver helmet, lots of skeleton designs, a few heinous americana hockey helmets and a creepy ‘I’m watching you’ specimen.

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Fog & Frustration on the Mountain

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Kindly Twitter informed me of the women’s giant slalom debacle long before it aired last night, but that didn’t make prime time coverage any less upsetting to watch.

The weather trending topics for the day were “soupy” “split pea” and– less poetically– “dense fog.” Skiers were able to see gates only 300ft ahead, nevermind the actual terrain they had set out to conquer.

Lindsey Vonn had an unfortunate trip-up on the way down. She caught the edge of her ski, crashed into a gate and then tangled into the fencing. Meanwhile at the top of the course, Julia Mancuso had already been sent down a minute into Vonn’s run (in order to get the most skiers through before conditions worsened). Mancuso was leading the race by the first split time, then got a yellow flag to stop. She slid down toward’s Vonn’s crash site obviously very disoriented and irreparably jarred out of her ‘zone.’

Sidenote: Johanna wonders what it is like to have a ‘zone’… hmmm.

Mancuso ended up re-slotted to 31st position where she handed in a disappointing 18th place run, contending with a course deteriorated by uncooperative weather and the twelve athletes who cut up the slalom after her interrupted run. Mancuso second performance was no doubt marred by the mental jolt of being flagged, the physical toll of an extra half run and the technical edge lost when the wax treatment on her skis was no longer fresh.

Sigh.

Mancuso reached the bottom of the course in tears, clearly devastated by such a poor performance in the event for which she is the gold medal defending champion. Rough city. I won’t ruin your prime time but the event has already happened, so if you don’t want to know the results… you know the internet self-censorship drill

On the upside, here’s a fabulous new image of her tiara helmet.

gawker.com/ Getty Images

Not so fabulous is how unfortunate the picture is.

And then the drama started. There were tweets of frustration. Whispers of a Vonn-Mancuso hatred, or at the very least a feud. Hours later efforts were put forth by both women to quell the talk. Vonn saying that she felt terribly that her crash had so negatively affected Mancuso. Mancuso spinning things on twitter with later statements explaining that she was just frustrated by the situation and reminding everyone that it’s true, these things happen in ski competitions.

She also posted an old feature video from Torino that outlines the differences between Vonn and herself, urging Facebook fans/ the world to understand that they are friendly competitors. I have to say the video makes Mancuso out to be much more sympathetic that Vonn, and that’s why we (read ‘I’) here at Words to Bumble love her. Also that is probably why she posted it– but still.

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