Mancuso feted at Squaw |

Mancuso feted at Squaw

Alanna Lungren
Sun News Service

Photo by Keith Sheffield/Sun News Service2006 Olympic gold medalist Julia Mancuso, right, receives a lifetime pass Saturday to her home mountain " Squaw Valley USA.

Olympic gold medal winner Julia Mancuso packed the Plaza Bar in Squaw Valley Saturday afternoon, signing posters and taking tiara-capped pictures with throngs of young, admiring ski racers.

As family, former ski coaches, fellow ski racers, friends and fans gathered around the golden girl, Nancy Wendt, president of Squaw Valley Ski Corp., presented the first of many honors of the day, the renaming of Squaw’s long and steep Exhibition run to “Julia’s Gold.”

Mancuso also received a lifetime pass to her home hill.

In between awards, which included a resolution adopted by the Placer County Board of Supervisors and an auspicious magnum of champagne from the most winningest woman in ski racing, Tamara McKinney ” Mancuso smiled and thanked her supporters, jokingly offering that, “I don’t think I’m getting enough compliments.”

Longtime “Voice of Squaw Valley” and supporter Johnny Haines led the crowd through applause as he brought up one award presenter after another.

“My very first sponsor,” as Mancuso described Susan Lopez, of Wildflour Baking Company, presented Mancuso with a lifetime cookie pass, bestowed upon only one other individual, freestyle skier and Olympic gold medal winner Jonny Moseley.

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Nearing the end of the official ceremony, Mancuso who held the gold medal in the air for all to see, mentioned to the Mighty Mites and young racers in the crowd to, “Give me a tap on the shoulder,” if they want to take a run with her whenever she is in town.

Mancuso also received a message of congratulations from Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. State Sen. Dave Cox and Assemblyman Tim Leslie sponsored a resolution recognizing April 15, 2006 as Julia Mancuso Day in Squaw Valley.