The three-time Olympian does Pilates in ski boots and designed an underwear line

By Sheila Cosgrove Baylis
Updated February 12, 2014 01:25 PM
Credit: Landov

Olympic skier Julia Mancuso took the bronze in Monday’s super-combined event in Sochi, adding to the two silver medals she already has from the 2010 games in Vancouver and the gold from 2006 in Turin.

On Wednesday, she’s going for another medal in the ladies’ downhill.

As you cheer her on, here are five things to know about the 29-year-old champion.

1. She Does Pilates in Ski Boots
“I spend 7 hours in the Pilates studio with a trainer that makes me put my ski boots on,” she tells PEOPLE. “It’s called neurokinetic Pilates, but we get in the ski position and do stuff – ski moves to get the right muscles to fire.”

2. She Has an Underwear Line
Mancuso’s underwear line, called “Kiss My Tiara,” reflects her penchant for a little flair on the ski slope. “When you’re on the ski hill, there’s not a lot of things that are not technical, but your underwear can be whatever you want it to be, and you’re the only person [who] really knows what it is unless you choose to share,” she says. “So, it was just since I had lucky underwear, it kind of felt like my calling.”

3. She Doesn’t Like Carbs
The night before an event, Mancuso doesn’t carb-load. “It’s a lot of protein and vegetables and not a lot of carbs,” she says. “Naturally, I don’t really like pasta. I like pasta when I’m in Italy.”

4. She Thinks Speeding Downhill at 60 to 70 m.p.h. in a Race Feels Slow
“Well, I think in competition when you’re racing you’re so focused,” she says. “I visualize so many times and it feels slow, so it’s the opposite of what you would think. You’re going so fast but you know exactly what’s going to happen and so when you’re going 60 or 70 it really just feels like everything’s kind of slowed down and it’s like a high-speed camera, you know, more frames per second.”

5. She Travels with 40 Pairs of Skis
“Typically in summer training I’ll have probably 40 pairs of skis,” she says, adding that it’s similar when traveling to the Olympics. But Mancuso doesn’t have to foot the bill for her custom-made equipment. “Skis and boots I guess if you had to buy it would be like about $1,000 a ski, plus whatever, so a lot of money. Well, you can’t buy those skis, they’re special made.”

Reporting by MIKE FLEEMAN