KRASNAYA POLYANA, Russia (AP) — For years, Julia Mancuso's skiing accomplishments — and there were many — were overshadowed by Lindsey Vonn's.
When it comes to Olympic Alpine events, though, no American woman comes close.
Turning in a terrific run to lead after the downhill, then recovering from a rattling start in the slalom, Mancuso earned the bronze in the super-combined at the Sochi Games on Monday for her fourth medal at an Olympics. She already was the only U.S. female Alpine racer with more than two, which is Vonn's total.
"Skiing and growing up with someone like Lindsey, who's just amazing on the World Cup and breaking records left and right there — to have something that I can break records in at the same time is also fun and exciting for me," said Mancuso, whose two-run time of 2 minutes, 35.15 seconds was 0.53 slower than champion Maria Hoefl-Riesch of Germany.
"If I can keep the Olympics as my thing, that's fine," Mancuso said, "and I'm really proud of it."
It sure showed Monday, the way she punched the air and screamed for joy after the slalom, did a jig on her step of the podium during the flower ceremony, then ran around with a U.S. flag, hugging family members.
She won the gold in the giant slalom at the 2006 Turin Games, then silvers in the super-combined and downhill at Vancouver in 2010. Only two other Winter Olympians from the U.S., speedskater Bonnie Blair and short track star Apolo Anton Ohno, have won individual medals at three editions of the games.
"She is everything you want your athletes to be," said Bill Marolt, CEO of the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association. "She brings herself to her best possible level of preparation and puts it all out there."
Only four women from anywhere own more Alpine medals than Mancuso, who can increase her total over the next two weeks, starting with Wednesday's downhill. The record of six is shared by Croatia's Janica Kostelic and Sweden's Anja Paerson.
The 29-year-old Mancuso, who grew up in Squaw Valley, Calif., was asked what's different about her when she's in an Olympic start hut.
"I feel more nervous. It's not nerves of failure, it's just nerves," she explained. "There's just a lot of emotion and knowing that, 'This is my chance. This is my shot.'"