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Julia Mancuso’s Sochi run ends, says ‘we’ll see’ about returning in 2018

Sochi Olympics Alpine Skiing Women

United States’ Julia Mancuso reacts after skiing out of the first run of the women’s giant slalom at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics, Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2014 in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia.(AP Photo/Christophe Ena)

Christophe Ena

The giant slalom isn’t Julia Mancuso’s specialty, but it’s also her last event in Sochi, so there was hope for a strong swan song. Instead, she wasn’t able to finish the first run on a course that grew increasingly challenging due to rain.

The 29-year-old struggled later in Sochi, but also enjoyed an impressive run to bronze in the super-combined. With that in mind, she gave an open-ended answer about competing in 2018.

While this could be something of an ending for Mancuso, it also represented a beginning for U.S. skiing in Mikaela Shiffrin’s Olympic debut. She performed solidly, finishing fifth in the first run, .91 seconds behind Slovenia’s Tina Maze.

Also ahead of Shiffrin: Sweden’s Jessica Lindell-Vikarby, Italy’s Nadia Fanchini and Austria’s Anna Fenninger.

This isn’t Shiffrin’s top event, but it appears that she might have a shot at a medal. If nothing else, the 18-year-old is off to a solid start ... right as Mancuso ponders the possibility that this may be the end.

Follow James O’Brien @cyclelikesedins