Truckee, CA (March 8, 2010) — The Tahoe Truckee Unified School District (TTUSD) can brag that Olympic alpine ski racer and two-time silver medalist Julia Mancuso is one of their own. And now, Mancuso is paying it forward to her hometown in partnership with Procter and Gamble, Crest & Oral-B’s “Smile with U.S.” program, which will donate a $10,000 check to TTUSD on her behalf.
During the Olympic Games last month, Procter & Gamble presented the check to Squaw Valley native Mancuso, who was fresh from winning one silver medal in women’s downhill and another in the women’s Olympic combined. According to Procter and Gamble, Crest & Oral-B recognized Mancuso as one of five Team USA Olympians for the “Smile with U.S.” campaign.
“I achieved what I did at the Olympics in large part due to my childhood growing up in the Tahoe-Truckee region and all the programs I was allowed to be involved in,” said Mancuso, who was a student of the Tahoe Truckee Unified School District. “Giving back in this way feels so good and is a small token of my appreciation for all the people who helped me along the way,” she added.
Already ardent fans of the hometown ski racer, community members were impressed and honored by Mancuso’s gracious donation. School district officials were equally pleased.
“At Julia’s request, these funds are earmarked for physical education and health. We intend to carefully consider how the money will be used but right now are basking in the glow of this young woman’s generous contribution to the school district,” said Steve Jennings, TTUSD Superintendent.
Mancuso was on skis at age 2, racing competitively at 8 and on the World Cup circuit at 15. She was a NorAm champion at 16, an Olympian at 17 and an Olympic gold medalist at 21. Mancuso also suited up for the soccer and track teams at North Tahoe High School, in Tahoe City, Calif.
Competing at the international level at such an early age made it difficult to maintain a normal high school schedule at Lake Tahoe and Mancuso ultimately landed at Park City, Utah where she attended the Winter Sports School. Fortunately, Mancuso’s young Tahoe-Truckee ski racing successors don’t have to move away to realize their dreams. Three years ago, TTUSD launched the North Tahoe Ski Academy. Acknowledging the snow sports competitors’ often hectic travel schedules, the program allows students to schedule a portion of their course load at the high school, freeing them to train in the afternoons with the ski or snowboard team of their choice. Students then make up the balance of their required curriculum through independent study programs. The Ski Academy program has grown since its inception, in part due to the fact that it gives parents of ski racers and snowboard competitors a public school alternative to the more expensive, private ski academy option.
Mancuso is part of a rich tradition of Olympic athletes in the Tahoe-Truckee region and students, teachers, administrators and trustees of the Tahoe Truckee Unified School District eagerly await an opportunity to publicly thank her in person for her donation.
“Julia is a wonderful role model for our youth; she has made us proud in both her athletic excellence and her community dedication,” said Kristy Olk, TTUSD board president. “It is exciting to have so many world-class athletes in our midst. Our children are fortunate indeed to be able to grow up with these home-town heroes and their successes as real-life examples of willpower and dedication. It’s a unique aspect of our community that has helped to produce so many Olympians.”