Travis Cabral comes up short of a medal |

Travis Cabral comes up short of a medal

Photo by Lionel Cironneau/Associated PressTravis Cabral of South Lake Tahoe spins off axis during the qualifying round of the Men's Moguls Wednesday.

If there was only one moguls run at the Winter Games on Wednesday in Sauze d’Oulx, Italy, Travis Cabral of South Lake Tahoe would be a silver medalist.

But Cabral’s runner-up finish was a qualifying run, making him a leading candidate to win the gold medal as the second-to-last competitor in the evening finals.

However, an unfortunate technical faux pas following his second jump dashed Cabral’s hopes at a medal. He was trying to become the first South Shore male to win an Olympic medal.

“I’ve been working my whole life for this. It wasn’t the best run I’ve ever had, but I gave it my all,” Cabral told the United States Ski and Snowboard Association. “I knew to get on the podium I would have needed the perfect run. One little mistake makes a big difference.”

Cabral said he landed in a hole following his second air, causing his knees to come apart as he prepared to navigate the remaining moguls at the bottom of the course.

“(Judges) catch that and it costs you,” he said. “I’ve worked so hard to put down the run I just put down; it just didn’t work out the way I would have liked.”

Still, the 22-year-old Cabral landed a top-10 performance at the Olympics, finishing ninth with a score of 24.38. Australia’s Dale Begg-Smith won the gold medal with a final run of 26.77.

Cabral, the 2003 World Cup season champion, was one of four Americans in the top 10. Toby Dawson of Vail, Colo., won the bronze medal with a score of 26.30; pre-event favorite Jeremy Bloom of Loveland, Colo., was sixth at 25.17; and 2002 silver medalist Travis Mayer of Steamboat Springs finished .53 ahead of Cabral in seventh place.

U.S. coach Jeff Wintersteen was pleased with the effort of his skiers.

“I felt our guys skied great,” Wintersteen said. “Travis Cabral and Jeremy made some small mistakes, but overall they skied great. Dale was phenomenal tonight.

He was flawless, and that’s hard to beat.”

Cabral wasn’t the only Lake Tahoe athlete to procure a top-10 finish on Wednesday.

North Shore’s Julia Mancuso was the top American in the women’s downhill, placing seventh in 1 minute, 57.71 seconds. Only .58 of a second separated her from her first Olympic medal.

Like Cabral, Mancuso lost her chance at a medal on the bottom of the mountain. She was third in the final training run on Tuesday.

“It was kind of flat today for me, but it was a lot of fun, especially at the top of the course where there are a lot of jumps,” Mancuso told the USSA. “My time was slower, even though I felt kind of confident.”

Austria’s Michaela Dorfmeister won the gold medal with a time of 1:56.49.

Two of Mancuso’s teammates finished in the top 20. Lindsey Kildow was just behind Mancuso in eighth place (1:57.78) and Truckee’s Stacey Cook finished 19th (1:58.70) in her Olympic debut. Kirsten Clark was the final American in 21st place.

Mancuso’s next shot at a medal comes in the combined on Friday.

The United States Ski and Snowboard Association contributed to this story.

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