A rare tie in women's Olympic downhill doubles the golden glow

Switzerland's Dominique Gisin and Slovenia's Tina Maze both get gold after finishing in a dead heat. American Julie Mancuso places eighth and favorite Maria Hoefl-Riesch of Germany finishes 13th.

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SOCHI, Russia — The women's Olympic downhill at Rosa Khutor did not end Wednesday with American Julia Mancuso winning her fifth Olympic medal and second of these Games.

It did not end with race favorite Maria Hoefl-Riesch of Germany winning her fourth gold medal in her seventh Olympic start.

The downhill ended in, of all things, a tie.

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It seems difficult to believe that a sport that relies on precision timing provided by Omega could not settle the difference between two racers, covering 1.7 miles, down a mountain.

As they say, though, the clock doesn't lie.

Switzerland's Dominique Gisin and Slovenia's Tina Maze crossed the finish line in 1 minute 41:57 seconds to produce the first gold medal tie in Olympic Alpine history.

Switzerland's Lara Gut, one-tenth of a second off the pace, won the bronze.

Gisin and Maze didn't seem to mind sharing as they hopped on the top platform in flower ceremonies after Wednesday's race.

"It's incredible," Maze said. "Maybe just one finger, maybe just one hand, can change the color of the medal."

Ties are unusual, but not unprecedented, in ski racing. There had been four previous Olympic Alpine ties, the last in 1998.

In 1992, America's Diann Roffe-Steinrotter tied Austria's Anita Wachter for the giant slalom silver.

Mancuso and Hoefl-Riesch, expected to contend for Wednesday's gold, were both off their games.

Mancuso won the combined downhill portion on her way to bronze on Monday, but Wednesday she could only manage eighth.

Mancuso said she got tentative after catching too much air on an early jump and never regained her race rhythm.

She finished .99 out of first and .89 out of a medal.

"Just thinking too much kind of kicked me out of my game," Mancuso said. "I felt like I wanted to hit the reset button."

Mancuso was the top American finisher, followed by Laurenne Ross (11), Stacey Cook (17) and Jackie Wiles (26).

Hoefl-Riesch, who won Monday's super combined, finished 13th.

"It was just a bad run for me," she said.

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