Julia Mancuso gets bronze in Olympic super-combined at Sochi

KRASNAYA POLYANA, Russia (AP) -- American skier Julia Mancuso showed yet again she's a big-game player, snagging a bronze in the Olympic super-combined skiing event. 

Maria Hoefl-Riesch won the event, her second straight Olympic super-combined title.

The American skier sped down the 2.7-kilometer (1.69-mile) Rosa Khutor course in 1 minute, 42.68 seconds, 0.47 faster than second-place Lara Gut of Switzerland.  This is her fourth Olympic medal in three games.

Mancuso has a best finish of seventh in World Cup races this season but owns three Olympic medals - including super-combined silver four years ago - and five world championships medals.

She shrieked with delight while skiing across the finish area, stretching both arms up and twirling her right ski pole.

"I just love being here at the Olympics. It's so much fun. I get really energized," said Mancuso, the most decorated American woman in Olympic Alpine skiing. "First race of the Olympics, so I was excited, and I really just focused on being aerodynamic and going for it."

Besides her super-combined silver, she won gold in giant slalom at the 2006 Turin Olympics and silver in downhill at the 2010 Vancouver Games.

Before heading to her slalom run, Mancuso posted a tribute to her late grandfather on her Twitter account.

"My grandpa is smiling down at me from heaven and saying I can be proud no matter what happens! This one's for you Grandpa Denny:) (hash)discotime," she wrote.

Hoefl-Riesch was fifth fastest in the downhill, but her superior slalom skills gave her the gold.The German's two-run time of 2 minutes, 34.62 seconds was 0.40 seconds faster than silver medalist Nicole Hosp of Austria.

Mancuso, 0.53 behind Hoefl-Riesch, punched the air with her right first after seeing she had won her fourth career Olympic medal for the United States.

At the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, Hoefl-Riesch won two gold medals, including the super-combined. Mancuso took silver that time.

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