Sochi: Julia Mancuso bowed out of the Sochi Games with a super-combined bronze, but admitted the lure of gold and her love of the Olympics could see her don US colours again in four years` time.
The 29-year-old is a 13-season veteran of the World Cup circuit, but her out-and-out forte is performing on the global stage at the Olympics and world championships.
Mancuso, the senior member of the US women`s ski team in the absence of the injured Lindsey Vonn, has racked up only seven victories on the World Cup and endured a terrible run-up to the Sochi Games.
But "Super Jules" has harvested an Olympic gold (2006 giant slalom), two silvers (2010 downhill and combined) and a bronze (2014 combined) to become the first American skier to win medals in three different Winter Games, as well as five world medals.
"Being here and coming back from not a great season, kind of puts things in perspective for me about what skiing`s about," said Mancuso.
"Coming into the these Olympics, I really wanted a medal... I got a bronze (in the super combined), but I still want gold."
She added: "At the beginning of the season, I felt like there was no way I could come back. But after coming here, and having that magical day, it makes me want to keep going."
Mancuso, who has credited growing up in the Californian ski resort of Squaw Valley, host of the 1960 Winter Olympics, as one of the reasons behind her tuning in so well to the four-yearly event, acknowledged that she had been inspired by male teammate Bode Miller.
Miller, at 36 years and 127 days, became the oldest ever alpine skiing medallist when he tied for bronze in the men`s super-G on Sunday.
"Watching Bode win another medal and have killer downhill training runs and be so close there, that inspired me," she said.
"So who says what`s a good age? You`ve just got to go for it, and I love to ski, so we`ll see."
Mancuso`s Olympic campaign came to a premature end when she skied out of the first run of Tuesday`s giant slalom.
But she tweeted that the celebrations would now start.
"That`s a wrap for me here in Sochi. It`s been inspiring! Thanks for all the support and Love! #GoUSA!!! Now I get to celebrate my Bronze!!!"
Mancuso added on her Facebook page: "The Olympics are very inspiring and I`m proud to represent team USA. As athletes we fight and strive to do our best.
"I leave these games with a bronze medal to make it four Olympic medals in my career, but what I cherish the most, are the memories and the smiles.
"Thanks for smiling with me, and I hope you are as inspired as me by all these athletes giving their best, win or lose... Because just being here makes us all winners."