Svindal skips classic Wengen downhill as knee injury flares
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.”