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Julia Mancuso ( 1984 - )  Category ( Sports_Figures ) [suggest a correction]

Julia MancusoJulia Mancuso is an American alpine skier and an Olympic medalist. She was the gold medalist in the giant slalom at the 2006 Winter Olympics  and the silver medalist in both downhill and combined at the 2010 Winter Olympics. She has also won three medals (a silver and two bronze) at the World Ski Championships, although she has only won four races in regular World Cup competition.

Mancuso's three Olympic medals are the most ever for a female American alpine skier. During the 2010 Winter Olympics, VISA featured Mancuso in an animated story describing how as a child she had drawn a picture of herself as a gold medalist, and closing with a photograph of her after winning the gold medal in 2006.

She was born and raised in California and Nevada, in a location she calls "one of the most beautiful places on earth: Lake Tahoe." She is the middle child of three sisters, and credits her upbringing and her parents love of sports and the outdoors with inspiring her to achieve the heights of sports success. When Mancuso was a young child the family split their time between Hawaii and California, which allowed her to appreciate two diverse climates.

Her earliest foray into sports came very early. When she was eighteen months old she begged her parents to put her on water skis after watching her older sister ski. She was snow skiing by the time she was three and from the time she was five she begged to spend every weekend at Squaw Valley. Personal tragedy struck that same year when her father, Ciro Mancuso, was arrested and convicted of running a $140 million marijuana smuggling operation. Her parents subsequently divorced in 1992, and her mother said that Julia "took everything out on the slopes." After his release from prison, she and her father became close.

Mancuso attended The Winter Sports School, a place where she could continue to pursue her athletic training while also studying. She graduated in 2000. Even before her high school graduation Mancuso was competing internationally. Her debut at the World Cup took place when she was only fifteen years old. She won the Junior World Championships each year from 2002-2004, winning a total of eight medals. In 2005 her worldwide ranking rose to ninth place, and in 2006 she won a gold medal at the Turin Winter Olympics. Her success came at a physical price, however. The next few years she struggled with injuries, underwent surgeries, and was diagnosed with hip dysplasia.

Despite the setbacks, Mancuso came back in 2010 to win at the Vancouver Olympics. The US ski team bestowed the nickname of "Super Jules" on Mancuso, and in 2006 a ski run at Squaw Valley Ski Resort was renamed "Julia's Gold," in honor of her gold medal win that year. Mancuso has launched her own line of lingerie, called "Kiss My Tiara." She also models lingerie and was quoted as saying "I think underwear is my calling. You can be feminine and fast."

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