Three-time Olympic medalist Julia Mancuso, whose best finish this season is 12th, clocked the fastest training run ahead of four straight days of speed races in Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy, on Wednesday.
Super-G races Thursday and Sunday and downhills Friday and Saturday will be key in determining Mancuso’s medal chances in Sochi. With Lindsey Vonn out, she is the face of the U.S. women’s speed team.
“Definitely my confidence is getting better and better,” Mancuso said, according to The Associated Press. “Even though we’ve had canceled races I’ve been spending a lot of times on my boots [free] skiing. That’s the most important thing for me — to feel really comfortable and confident on my equipment. … I’ve put in the hours I needed.”
The hope from Mancuso’s struggles this season is that she is seen as a big-event skier, to be able to turn it on at the Olympics or World Championships.
She had never won a World Cup race before taking the 2006 Olympic giant slalom title. In 2010, she was coming off her worst World Cup season in four years and won two silver medals at the Vancouver Olympics.
It was about this time four years ago that Mancuso began to flip the switch. She was a season’s best eighth in a downhill in Cortina on Jan. 23, 2010, and then third in the super-G portion of a super combined one week later.
“I’m sure if I’m skiing well then the results will come,” Mancuso said, according to the AP. “And it doesn’t even matter what place I end up in the races going into it. Even today having a really good training run that’s a really good confidence (booster) for me.”
U.S. Olympic speed skater asks family not to go to Sochi
Basketball reporter Craig Sager will miss the Rio Games as he returns to a cancer center to continue his battle against acute myeloid leukemia, NBC announced in a statement Thursday.
Sager was set to cover his fifth straight Olympics for NBC, but instead needs to undergo a third bone marrow transplant at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. He resumed receiving chemotherapy on Wednesday, according to the Houston Chronicle, with the goal being to force the disease into remission so the transplant can be performed next month.
“We’ve known since February we would have to have the third transplant,” Sager told the Chronicle. “We tried to delay it until after the Olympics, but (the disease) is very aggressive, and there is a sense of urgency to do it now.”
Sager was diagnosed in 2014, went into remission after a bone marrow transplant, was told the cancer came back in March 2015, underwent a second transplant last year, and then found out in February he was no longer in remission.
“My body isn’t getting stronger, so they want to do it while I’m strong enough,” Sager said. “Third transplants are kind of rare, so hopefully we will get it done and I’ll be ready in time for (NBA) opening night.”
MORE: Marv Albert to call Olympic basketball for first time since 1996
NBC Olympics, Facebook and Instagram will team up to provide video highlights and interviews on social media daily during the Rio Olympics.
An on-site “Social Command Center” in Rio will capture Facebook Live content, including interviews with athletes and NBC Olympics commentators.
A daily two-minute recap video will be produced for Facebook, while Instagram will have a daily slow-motion video around an inspiring moment.
Instagram will also feature NBC Olympics commentators and athletes on its own account, @instagram, along with highlights of NBC videos through its Search & Explore video channels.
More on the NBC Olympics, Facebook and Instagram partnerships is here.
MORE: Complete U.S. Olympic team roster