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2010 Winter Olympics: Julia Mancuso fast, but not enough for giant slalom medal

VANCOUVER, British Columbia — Julia Mancuso finished the kind of giant slalom run she expected from herself, then turned to see her time on the scoreboard. She was looking so intently she lost her balance and fell into a padded wall.

Mancuso was third fastest in Thursday's second run, but it wasn't enough to overcome a frustrating performance in the first run a day earlier. She wound up eighth, an end to her Vancouver Olympics that was both encouraging and even more frustrating.

What if she hadn't been forced to stop her first run because injured teammate Lindsey Vonn was still on the ground? Would that trip have been similar to this one? Did she deserve to have been back on the medals stand in an event she won four years ago in Turin?

"I felt I was able to put down a really good second run today," she said. "It just wasn't enough. ... I was pretty close, but I guess I'll wait for another four years."

Mancuso is planning to skip the final women's Alpine event, the slalom on Friday. That closes her 2010 Winter Games with a pair of silver medals.

As for Vonn, she plans to ski the race, even though that tumble left her with a broken right pinkie and a bunch more bruises to go with her bum right shin.

Viktoria Rebensburg of Germany won the giant slalom, a stunning feat for a woman who'd never won a major race, and another German took silver in the women's cross-country relay. That puts Germany into the lead for the most gold medals with eight, and trims the United States' lead in the overall count to two, 28-26.

Marit Bjoergen of Norway won the women's cross-country relay, making her the first person in Vancouver to collect three golds and four overall medals. The Norwegians are now tied with the U.S. and Canada for second-most golds with seven.

Four more gold medals were to be awarded Thursday, with Kim Yu-na taking a commanding lead into the women's figure skating free skate and a clash of titans in women's hockey, the United States vs. Canada.

The other events are men's aerials and Nordic combined's individual 10Km.

The large hill jump in the Nordic combined got started, then was stopped because of snow and wind after about two-thirds of the 45 jumpers already had gone. Americans Todd Lodwick, Johnny Spillane and Billy Demong were among those who had yet to jump.

Because the conditions obviously were hurting distances, the initial jumps were wiped out and the whole event was started over once the weather cleared.