Hoefl-Riesch repeats in combined, Mancuso takes bronze
Krasnaya Polyana, Russia (SportsNetwork.com) - Germany's Maria Hoefl-Riesch successfully defended her gold medal in the women's super combined Monday at the Sochi Olympics, while Julia Mancuso claimed bronze for the United States.
Hoefl-Riesch was fifth after the downhill at Rosa Khutor Alpine Center but made up the deficit in the slalom. She posted the third-best slalom split and finished with a total time of 2 minutes, 34.62 seconds.
The German now has three Olympic medals -- all gold. Hoefl-Riesch won the super combined and slalom event four years ago.
Austria's Nicole Hosp, eighth after the downhill, won silver and finished .40 seconds behind Hoefl-Riesch.
Mancuso, who finished second to Hoefl-Riesch in 2010, grabbed the early lead with a terrific downhill run and did just enough in the slalom to earn her fourth Olympic medal, tops all-time for American women in alpine skiing.
The 29-year-old American carried a lead of .47 seconds into the slalom and finished the combined with a time of 2:35.15. She was just .10 seconds ahead of Slovenia's Tina Maze.
"I knew I just had to give my best shot and it sure didn't feel good," Mancuso said of the slalom. "I definitely had moments in my mind where I was thinking, 'This is not going to be good enough but keep fighting.' I knew where to let it run on that last pitch and surprise! I looked up and got a medal."
Mancuso has won at least one medal in the last three Winter Olympics. She won the giant slalom at the Turin Olympics in 2006 and added a downhill silver four years later.
Her four-medal haul is tied for second place all-time among American women at the Winter Games behind only speedskater Bonnie Blair's six.
"I just love being here at the Olympics," she said. "It's so much fun and I get really energized. I got a lot of energy from watching the men's race yesterday, and it was just a perfect example of what I always think: anything is possible at the Olympics, you can never count anyone out and you always have to just do your best."
Laurenne Ross and Stacey Cook of the U.S. were both eliminated after failing to complete the downhill course. American Leanne Smith was 20th after the downhill, but was disqualified after missing a gate in the slalom.
Canada's Marie-Michele Gagnon was 21st after downhill but failed to complete her slalom run.
02/10 17:48:07 ET