Right before Olympic skier Julia Mancuso started her races in Sochi, she tried to think of three things that she really loved.
“I had this amazing powder run in Cortina, [Italy] all the way from the top of the mountain to the bottom, so I was imagining that,” Mancuso, a gold medalist at the 2006 Olympics and a world champion alpine skier, told FoxNews.com. “I had caught the most amazing wave of my life [surfing] this summer, so I thought of that moment. And just thinking of my friends and family, thinking of the feeling of a hug, were the three things I was thinking about.”
Though Mancuso failed to make the podium in Sochi for the Alpine Skiing Ladies’ Downhill race and the Super-G race, she snagged the bronze medal for the Alpine Skiing Ladies’ Super Combined competition. The event consists of both a downhill race and a slalom race, in which the skier with the best combined time wins.
Now, with a total of four Olympic medals and five medals from the International Ski Federation (FIS) Alpine World Ski Championships, Mancuso is one of the most decorated female skiers in her field – out-medaling fellow Olympic gold medalist Lindsay Vonn.
Mancuso said she attributes her success to her mother, who taught her to forget about her ego and be a positive influence on those around her.
“My mom has always taught me there’s enough for everybody,” Mancuso said. “…There’s enough medals to be won, there’s enough game, there’s enough good energy for everyone. And as part of a team, the most positive we can be for each other, the better everyone will be in the end.”
Though the Olympic closing ceremonies have now come and gone, the skiing season is far from over for the 29-year-old. After a brief trip to Los Angeles, Mancuso will head to the Swiss Alps for the remainder of the week to compete in more downhill races, before heading to her hometown of Squaw Valley, Calif., where she will compete in the 2014 Nature Valley U.S. Alpine Championships.
With such a busy schedule ahead, Mancuso said she tries her best to clear her mind and stay focused between races – techniques she used while at Sochi.
“I just kind of limited my energy spent on the computer and my phone, because I found it really draining,” Mancuso said. “And that helped me get refreshed…Then also just focusing on what I love to do. I think it’s really easy to get caught up in the results of things, and I wanted to just focus on my sport and how I love to do it and be inspired by other athletes…and not worry too much on the results.”
Once the skiing season ends, Mancuso will head to Hawaii to relax and enjoy the islands’ surfing conditions. When she’s not skiing, Mancuso can often be found in the water – and even went surfing in the Black Sea after her events at Sochi.
While she won’t be training on the slopes every day during the summer, Mancuso said she still tries to maintain a balanced diet and a regular fitness regimen during the off season.
To stay energized, Mancuso mixes a number of smoothies and protein shakes utilizing ZICO coconut water and other foods high in antioxidants. She also noted that while she doesn’t enjoy lifting weights at the gym, she tries to stick to exercises like interval training and those that strengthen the body’s core – workouts she claims are the most important.
But even though she enjoys basking in the sunshine and getting a nice break from competition, Mancuso said it doesn’t take long for her to miss zipping down snowy mountaintops.
“I know that sometimes when I finish doing things, sometimes I’ll be wanting to just go do something else, even media stuff or enjoying the moment, and then it all comes down to loving skiing,” Mancuso said. “I’ll get sick of being in the city, and I’ll be like ‘I want to go skiing again.’ That’s where I feel happy, and that’s what I love.”