Alpine medalist Mancuso takes home fourth career medal

SOCHI, Russia -- U.S. Olympic skier Julia Mancuso's bronze on Monday meant a lot more than the medal around her neck.

After taking her place at the podium in the women's super combined alpine skiing event at the Rosa Khutor alpine center, Mancuso also became the first American skier in history to win a medal in three straight Olympic Winter Games. Her bronze is in good company -- Manusco has won a total of four medals, making her the most decorated U.S. Olympic skier.

The Squaw Valley, Calif. native took the lead in the downhill portion of the race and ripped up the slalom course that bumped nine other skiers off course. She finished third behind gold winner Maria Hoefl-Riesch of Germany and silver winner Nichole Hosp of Austria.

Mancuso said she was amazed after her finish, adding that her bronze came after a "really tough season."

"I've always just had that belief that I can do it," Mancuso said. "So putting out these dreams and beliefs that I can come out here and have a medal ... it was kind of like crossing the finish line saying, 'See it works! Believing in yourself works! I got a medal today!"

Mancuso and the women's team will be back to take on downhill on Wednesday, Feb. 12.

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