Lorenzo Benet
February 20, 2010 10:00 AM

Skier Julia Mancuso, 25, has won two silvers in Vancouver’s Winter Olympics. On Saturday, she is going for another medal in the Super-G. Here are five things to know about the champion.

Her First Ski Experience Wasn’t on Snow
“I started water skiing first, but my dad and uncle [had] snow skied in college and I was doing races by age 8,” says Mancuso. “My older sister, April, also [snow] skied and she hung with the boys who pushed her on. I always wanted to do what she did.”

She Has a Hidden Talent
“I like to design clothes and paint. I designed a line of hoodies and decided to do a line of lingerie this year because in 2002 I won three national titles [while] I was wearing Julius underwear by Paul Frank, so I credited my underwear [for the win] and called them Super Jules. The nickname stuck.”

She’s Royalty – Sort Of
Before the 2006 [Winter] Games, my coaches gave me a toy tiara because I’m opinionated about everything. They called me a princess. I used to wear a tiara when we didn’t have to wear helmets in the slalom, but then they changed the rules so I had a silver tiara painted on my helmet. Win or lose, that tiara is always with me.”

Her Relationship with Lindsey Vonn Is Imperfect
“The best way to describe it is, it’s one of mutual respect … Lindsey and I spend a lot of time apart, so that makes it easier on the team. Last year when I was struggling, I cheered her on when she won the World Cup, and to be honest, I’m not sure she’d do the same for me.”
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Her Dad’s Prison Time Taught Her About Adversity
“That was tough,” she tells PEOPLE of the period in the ’90s when her father, Ciro, served time for smuggling marijuana. “It was in the media and I was teased by kids at school. But all I knew was the love he had for me. It taught me how to deal with adversity, which is like second nature to me now. He’s here cheering me on and doing great, and helping our community back in Truckee, Calif.”

PeopleTV Archive: Celebs Reveal: Their Secret Olympic Dreams

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