She has exchanged her racing skis for a scooter, out of necessity. Only a few weeks ago Julia Mancuso competed in her 399th and last World Cup race, at the descent in Cortina d’Ampezzo, in a Wonder Woman outfit. With a trailing cape she rushed to the finish line, was sprayed with champagne, was carried on the shoulders by Lindsey Vonn – to then announce, as expected, the end of her career. The hips. Even after two operations her mobility is still so severely limited and the pain is still so bad that she missed out on qualifying for her fifth Olympic Games.
“It was an unbelievably difficult path back to the World Cup, in order to feel at all secure on the routes.” Now she will go to Pyeongchang for three weeks as an expert for the US broadcaster NBC, as will her ex-colleague Bode Miller. “He commentates on all races,” she says, “I really don’t know what I will be doing. But it will definitely be fun.” The injury has not yet spoiled this lady’s good mood.
No other American woman has won as many medals at major skiing events as she has: Olympic gold in 2006 and also two silvers in the 2010 Games in Downhill and Combined as well as bronze in Combined in 2014. Added to this are five World Cup medals. But with this, it is now over. At the stand of her long-term outfitter Spyder in Hall B2 she leans on the scooter – there are probably only a few days without pain in the hips. “I get out of bed in a different way every day. But that’s the way it is now. I must accept that. I also thought that things would be different after the two operations. But ski races are tough on the body.”
Of course she will not stop skiing altogether: “To begin with, I will spend the rest of the winter Freeskiing wherever I can. And then? See what happens. I have not yet made any plans for the future, because until recently I have been concentrating on my racing career. But now I will absolutely travel a lot – and have fun!“