The year may be young, but it's been a roller coaster of events and emotions so far for Julia Mancuso. The skier, who was the only American female Olympic gold medal winner in 2006, won two silver medals in the Vancouver Winter Olympics, but she also had to deal with personal dramas that affected her racing. She's come through to win the giant slalom at the U.S. Alpine Skiing Championships in March and already has her sights set on the 2014 Games. Mancuso took a break to chat with Outside Online about skiing, life, and her undies.
You won two silvers in Vancouver, which people weren't expecting from you. How does it feel?
I am stoked on my performance, just being able to come back from a bad back injury and peak at the right time. I know it seemed like a surprise to most, but ever since the injury it's been my goal to be 100 percent for those races, and it all worked out! It goes back to winning the gold for me. Just keep believing and you can achieve anything!
There was drama surrounding your do-over run in the Olympic giant slalom because of officials interrupting your first run to prevent you from crashing into Lindsey Vonn at the bottom of the hill. You ended up in eighth place. What were your emotions that day, and have they changed?
I am very bummed out about that whole situation, but in life there are things that you just have no control over. It was an emotional roller coaster, and a day I will never forget, but it's not something that I can even begin to think...what if?
Your good friend C.R. Johnson was killed in a skiing accident in Squaw Valley during the Games. How did that affect you? Did it influence your decision not to compete in the slalom?
It was a very sad day. When I heard about C.R., it just immediately put things in perspective for me to enjoy the skiing and not the results. I hope that I can spread the love of the sport for C.R. He was a true innovator and inspiration.
A lot happened for you personally during this Olympics. It wasn't a light-hearted time. What will you take away from Vancouver?
It was so great to go out and perform my best. I am so grateful for the hard work and support from everyone around me. I definitely had some ups and downs in the past year, so to be able to put it all in the past and just ski my best in every race, regardless of everything else going on, is all I can ask for, and I am proud of how it all turned out. I know things could have gone better in the last two races, but I look forward to keeping the speed going and winning in Sochi [site of the 2014 Winter Olympics].
How'd you do in the World Cup, and how do you feel about your performance?
I was third in one of the last super Gs, and that was cool to be on the podium again. The World Cup for me this year was just about getting ready for the Olympics, so I am more looking forward to next year's tour to improve my rankings and be a threat to the Overall.
How was Aspen Fashion Week?
I had no idea I was stepping off the plane into Aspen Fashion Week. It was pretty cool! A ton of people and stuff going on. I got to walk the runway in my line of Kiss My Tiara undies, so that was exciting!
What's next for you?
This summer is going to be a busy one! Besides training and getting ready for next year, I am going to be spending a lot of time expanding my lingerie company, adding new designs and hopefully some men's briefs. And of course surfing as much as possible!