Svin­dal skips clas­sic Wen­gen down­hill as knee in­jury flares

Malta Independent - - SPORT -

Re­turn­ing to World Cup ski­ing af­ter 22 months, Ju­lia Man­cuso has found a new bal­ance in her life.

And it's not just the sur­gi­cally re­paired right hip the 2006 Olympic cham­pion is re­fer­ring to.

“The year off just helped me to re­set,” Man­cuso told The As­so­ci­ated Press ahead of Satur­day's down­hill, where she planned to race for the first time since March 2015.

“It was nice to have a less stress­ful year,” the Amer­i­can said. “Hav­ing a year off when you have your hip to heal, gives the rest of your body a re­ally good chance. As far as the rest of my body, I feel su­per-healed. I feel like I am in a bet­ter po­si­tion and I am a lot more bal­anced.”

Get­ting mar­ried, to Dy­lan Fish, also helped the 32-year-old Man­cuso to re­set­tle in her sea­son away from the slopes.

“You def­i­nitely check out,” said Man­cuso, who is ac­com­pa­nied by Fish in Aus­tria. “I live part-time in Hawaii, part-time in Fiji, where my hus­band lives. It was nice be­cause I never got to do these things like Christ­mas at home.”

Born with hip dys­pla­sia, Man­cuso has long fought against the pain. It didn't pre­vent her from win­ning seven World Cup races and be­com­ing the most dec­o­rated Amer­i­can fe­male skier at ma­jor com­pe­ti­tions, with four Olympic and five world cham­pi­onship medals.

But as ther­apy and med­i­ca­tion were no longer suf­fi­cient, surgery be­came un­avoid­able and forced Man­cuso to sit out the 2015-16 sea­son.

Her hip turned out to be far more dam­aged than it ini­tially seemed. It made re­cov­ery even harder. In­stead of the planned two months, Man­cuso had to go on crutches for half a year.

Af­ter a lot of pow­der ski­ing in the fall, she felt she had to get back to rac­ing again.

“It's just kind of what fu­els me, what gets me ex­cited,” Man­cuso said. “I had to get out of be­ing home. Be­cause if I was home, I would def­i­nitely be stuck in a pat­tern of not hav­ing the en­ergy to go on the road and start com­pet­ing.”

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