Dedicating her Olympic medal to her late grandfather, Mancuso finds faith in herself through her family's love and support
“I was scared, and downhill is a scary sport,” she said. “And I found myself standing in the start gate a little bit scared to go 80 miles an hour. I was just hoping that everything went well, and that made me not love it.”
Mancuso said it was the support of her family and the extra time the Olympics allows her to spend focusing on herself and her skiing that helped her succeed on the treacherous Sochi downhill course.
“It comes back to basics,” she said of how she found faith in herself without any impressive results. “This year, every time I crossed the finish line, I didn’t feel like myself on the hill. I didn’t feel like I skied my best. And when I crossed the finish line, my results showed I wasn’t my best. I felt like a completely different person.”
Some time with her family, which she credits for helping her feel secure enough to foster Olympic-sized dreams, was the adjustment she needed.
“I started to become proud of my result,” she said. “It didn’t matter if I was seventh or 13th. I just felt really proud of my skiing and that’s what I kept and that’s what I used in these races.”
Growing up in Squaw Valley, she said, planted seeds of Olympic glory in her heart that hard work and faith have nurtured to fruition.
“I think it’s love,” she said of what her family does specifically. “It’s a lot of love. And something I do, I just really think of gold. I’ve been thinking of standing on that podium, and I’ve been dreaming of it. It’s visualizing, thinking positive thoughts, I just think how great things are going to happen for me. I just try to stay there no matter what. I really feel anything can happen in these races. I just go out there and fight my hardest.”
There is still an opportunity for Mancuso to blaze new ground as she competes in all of the women's alpine events.