By Martha Mangan
Tricia Mangan’s path to PyeongChang is not your typical U.S. Olympic Alpine Ski Team story. It begins not on mountains, but on hills in Western New York at HoliMont, which features a mere 700-foot vertical drop.
The Buffalo native had her first race at the age of two on the HoliMont bunny hill against her twin brother, William. A competitive fire was lit that day, along with a love of going fast on a pair of skis.
That fire fueled her rise through the ranks of the U.S. Alpine Ski Team – making the D team in 2016, the C Team in 2017, and a World Cup debut in the Giant Slalom at Killington, Vermont, last November.
It didn’t dim even when she was left off the 2018 Olympic Team in early January. She went out the very next week and earned her first World Cup points in the Alpine Combined at Lenzerheide, Switzerland. She was the second American finisher behind only world champion Lindsey Vonn. Her determination and ability to overcome disappointment was rewarded when she was elevated to the Olympic Team on Feb. 6 after an injury to teammate Jackie Wiles.
Resilience and determination is a trait that runs in the Mangan family. In December 2016, Tricia’s younger brother Andrew broke his C5 vertebrae in a freak accident that left him paralyzed from the shoulders down. Through prayers, grace, and relentless effort, Andrew has had an incredible recovery. A top skier and rower himself, Andrew walked out of the spinal rehabilitation hospital using crutches just 70 days after his accident, and is back in the water and on the slopes. Andrew is in PyeongChang to cheer his sister on.
In addition to her World Cup racing, Tricia is studying biomedical engineering at Dartmouth and when she’s lucky enough to be home, she loves spending time with her five siblings and parents, playing a variety of sports, engaging in heated debates, and exploring the great outdoors.
She is only the second female from Western New York to make the U.S. Olympic Alpine Ski Team, joining 1994 Super G gold medalist Diann Roffe. At 20 years old, she is also the youngest ever to compete in the Olympics. Proud parents David and Martha Mangan are about to see the competitive fire that they lit 18 years ago turn into an Olympic flame.
Tricia was first scheduled to compete in Giant Slalom on Monday morning (Sunday evening our time), but due to weather conditions, the event was rescheduled for Thursday (Wednesday evening our time). Visit www.nbcolympics.com or www.pyeongchang2018.com for the schedule and latest results.
From all of your fans back home in WNY, best of luck to you, Tricia! (Martha Mangan is Tricia’s Mother.)