Schild wins World Cup slalom
SEMMERING, Austria – Marlies Schild of Austria won a women’s World Cup night slalom Wednesday for her third victory of the season and 26th overall, while Maria Riesch finished second to extend her lead in the overall standings on Lindsey Vonn.
Schild had a blistering first run on the Panorama course in front of about 14,000 home fans, but had to overcome a major mistake in the second when she almost came to a standstill.
She finished in a combined time of 1 minute, 42.06 seconds to beat Riesch, the Olympic and world slalom champion by 0.32. Christina Geiger of Germany, Riesch’s teammate, was 0.52 back in third for her first career podium finish.
“I had a problem with my left ski, which slid away twice. But it doesn’t matter – a victory is a victory,” Schild said.
“It was not easy. I knew I had a huge lead over Maria but I wanted to attack,” said the Austrian, who led Riesch by 2.40 seconds after her flawless opening run.
“I was going almost too fast at the bottom part and had to hold back a bit,” said Schild, who has won three of four slalom races this season to lead the discipline standings. “I was a bit anxious before the race because everybody expects me to win.”
Riesch rebounded after finishing 17th in the opening run and now has 738 points.
“It’s very important to score points consistently in all disciplines if you go for the overall title,” Riesch said.
Vonn, the three-time defending champion, crashed in the first run and is second with 617.
The American lost her balance in a sharp right turn early in her run and slid off course, hitting a course worker and landing in the safety boarding. She appeared unhurt, getting up immediately and skiing down to the finish area.
Riesch narrowly avoided skiing out at the next-to-last gate when she almost fell backward after hitting a bump and just managed to get around the final gate.
“I was obviously very annoyed with that error,” Riesch said. “I knew from the course inspection that it could get dangerous there.”
Riesch posted the fastest second run and called it “a dream effort. I didn’t expect that. I had to fight for the right line throughout, probably because I was going very fast. I am happy and proud to take second.”
Former overall champion Nicole Hosp went out in the first run after straddling a gate in the steep middle part of the course.
Sarah Schleper of the U.S. was ninth after the opening leg and led Riesch by 0.27 before straddling a gate.
Fellow American Julia Mancuso and Sweden’s Anja Paerson failed to qualify for the second leg.
The women’s World Cup continues with a new parallel slalom event in Munich on Jan. 2.
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