Friday, December 20, 2013

Austria’s Schild wins a record slalom, Shiffrin settles for 12th

Tuesday World Cup race in France

Express Staff Writer

Austria’s Marlies Schild captured her 34th World Cup slalom victory Tuesday in France. FIS photo

    Budding World Cup slalom superstar Mikaela Shiffrin of Eagle/Vail, Colo. took a back seat to veteran Marlies Schild of Austria during Tuesday’s Audi FIS Alpine World Cup women’s slalom race at Courchevel, France.
    Schild, 32, captured the 34th slalom victory over her storied career and tied Swiss great Vreni Schneider for the most sla-lom wins in women's World Cup history. Having first won a slalom at Sestriere, Italy in March 2004, Schild prevailed by .33 seconds over Sweden’s Frida Hansdotter on the 59-gate course.
    World champion Shiffrin, 18, skied to an uncharacteristic 12th place Tuesday. But, after just two slaloms, Shiffrin (122 points) retained the slalom lead despite her conservative finish. Hansdotter (112) is second and Schild (100) third.
    Resi Stiegler of Jackson Hole, Wyo. earned her first points of the winter with 21st.
    Schild became the oldest women to win a World Cup slalom. Her younger sister Bernadette Schild placed third—her second career World Cup podium.
    Shiffrin said, “Not my best day. I didn’t have a great feeling. I was just a bit nervous. Sometimes I don’t get that great feeling I want in the morning. I thought I had that today but it didn’t go that way.”
    Women’s Technical Head Coach Roland Pfeifer added, “Mi-kaela wasn't able to get the battery charged and that happens. She really had a bad day today and that’s probably not the last time that's going to happen. We just need to accept that the other athletes were skiing better today. There were just better skiers on the hill today.”
    Marlies Schild, the girlfriend of Austria’s superstar Benja-min Raich, was certainly one of them.
    She told, “I wasn't really nervous, because I knew there was no other way but to give it all out to be faster than my younger sister. It was just a lot of fun again, that is the main thing. The hill here in Courchevel is not easy. It’s steep and you have to push really hard. You simply can’t be conser-vative.
    “It’s been two years since I last won a race. Everybody has been telling me about this record. Now that’s it is done, I’ll be able to ski with less pressure. My self-confidence is back. My plan was to retire earlier in my career. But I lost some time with my injuries. I’ve always had the feeling I could achieve more. That's why I’m still on the tour.”
    Next: The U.S. women move to Val d’Isere, Fra. for downhill and giant slalom Dec. 21-22.

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