Now this is how you go out. Julia Mancuso, the most decorated female Olympic skier in U.S. history retired today in Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy, taking her last run in full Wonder Woman garb, red cape and all.
While the light-hearted Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows local failed to make the Olympic team this year (she’ll be on the broadcast team for NBC in South Korea) she enjoyed an incredible career: she captured gold in giant slalom at the 2006 Turin Games, silver in downhill and combined at the 2010 Vancouver Games and bronze in combined at the 2014 Sochi Games. She also reached 36 podiums in 398 World Cup starts.
Mancuso battled a debilitating hip injury that cost her two seasons during her career. “I felt like the crazier I would dress, the better and easier and less I would be emotional and cry,” Mancuso told the media about her Wonder Woman attire. “I had to pull out the superpowers for today.”
Jules, It’s hard to say goodbye to someone I’ve spend most of my life skiing with. We are complete opposites but grew up striving for the same things. We pushed each other and together we achieved so much. We have shared so many amazing moments and I’m so grateful for all of them. Maybe it’s my old age or maybe I’m just emotional, but I will deeply miss you. Thank you for being you, thank you for everything you’ve done for ski racing and thank you for being a great teammate. Good luck in the next chapter of your life. Love, L
Lindsey Vonn, who Mancuso competed against with ferocity during her career, bid the 33-year-old adieu. “It makes me realize how long we’ve been doing this, and how many great memories we have together,” Vonn told NBC. “I honestly think that we’re both in the position that we’re in because we were growing up together, because we pushed each other. We weren’t always the best of friends. We’re exact opposites. She’s like free, let’s go surfing. I’m like hardcore, always focused all the time. We haven’t always been very close, but because of each other, because we were on the team together, because we pushed each other, we both achieved a level of success that I don’t think we would have had without each other.”
Mancuso is free to do her thing now, which often includes surfing. “It’s an emotional time because (skiing’s) been such a big part of my life and I’m so grateful for that,” Mancuso said. “It’s been amazing to still have my biggest competitor and compatriot on the road still, competing with Lindsey. All of my friends are here and healthy and that’s really nice.”