Sister Act: Marlies Schild beats Bernadette to win WCup slalom - InfoNews

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Sister Act: Marlies Schild beats Bernadette to win WCup slalom

Austria's Marlies Schild celebrates after winning an alpine ski, women's World Cup slalom, in Courchevel, France, Tuesday, Dec. 17, 2013. (AP Photo/Marco Tacca)
December 17, 2013 - 8:58 AM

COURCHEVEL, France - Marlies Schild joked that her younger sister would not have got any Christmas presents if she had stopped her from equaling Vreni Schneider's record for World Cup slalom wins on Tuesday.

Marlies overcame her younger sister Bernadette's leading time from the first run to win her 34th slalom.

The 2011 slalom world champion was third after the first run in the morning. But the elder Schild posted a second run of 53.26 seconds to clinch victory ahead of Frida Hansdotter of Sweden. Bernadette Schild was third overall, and Kathrin Zettel of Austria fourth.

Canada's Marie-Michele Gagnon's raced to sixth place to continue her hot start to the Olympic season.

The 24-year-old from Lac-Etchemin, Que., cemented her reputation as a multi-discipline medal contender for the 2014 Sochi Olympics on a challenging course.

"I'm showing consistency. I'm excited," said Gagnon, who also competes in giant slalom, super-G, super combined and sometimes downhill. "I really feel like I'm in a magical moment right now.

"It was not an easy one today, that's for sure. Especially with not training slalom for a long time, I just wanted to make it down so for sure I'm happy."

Gagnon was fifth in the slalom and 10th in the giant slalom in the opening World Cup, then added a sixth and a 10th-place finish in super-G races earlier this month. She looked poised for her first World Cup podium in giant slalom last weekend before she went out four gates from the finish.

Brittany Phelan, of Mont-Tremblant, Que., was 27th, while Elli Terwiel of Sun Peaks, B.C., didn't qualify for the second run and Erin Mielzynski, of Collingwood, Ont., and Mikaela Tommy, of Wakefield, Que., were among 25 racers who didn't finish their first runs.

After Hansdotter could not match Marlies Schild's time, it was down to Bernadette — nine years younger at 23 and seeking her first win — to stop her sibling equalling the record.

"She wouldn't have got any Christmas presents," Marlies Schild said after winning her third straight race at Courchevel, but her first since winning a slalom race at Soldeu-Grandvalira in Andorra in February 2012.

"It's a very big (weight) falling off my body and my heart," she said. "It's nearly two years ago since my last victory. Everyone was asking and asking what the problem was. I wasn't feeling very good for a long time now."

Matching Schneider's record from 1986-95 was an extra bonus.

"Lindsey (Vonn) was always saying 'If you make records, it's the only thing you remember.' I don't think that's the main thing," Marlies said. "It's just that (it means) you are a good skier when you break records. I'm glad that it's over now."

Last season, she stopped racing in March to recover from another knee injury, but the hunger to keep going fuelled her recovery.

"I lost some years because of injuries and always had the feeling that I could do more, and that's the reason I'm still here," she said. "I had back problems and knee surgery. I didn't know if I could do it again. I was thinking a lot, I was thinking too much. But now I've got my self-confidence back."

World champion Mikaela Shiffrin, who was seventh after the first run, finished 12th.

Tessa Worley, the Frenchwoman who won a giant slalom in St. Moritz last weekend, was taken to hospital after falling back on her skis and injuring her right knee in the first run.

Bernadette was .13 seconds faster than Hansdotter and .20 clear of her elder sister after the first run.

Marlies, who took slalom bronze at the 2006 Olympics, flew down the Stade Emile Allais course on her second run — .80 seconds faster than Zettel on the first split, .80 quicker on the second, and 1.43 quicker as she crossed the line.

Bernadette was more than one second behind. Still, she earned a big hug from Marlies at the finish line for securing her second career podium result, after finishing second at Lenzerheide, Switzerland, in March.

Being in the unfamiliar position of leading the race gave her some added stress.

"It wasn't too easy to me. I had to breathe deeply to get my heart rate down. It's different to stand up there when you're the last one down," Bernadette said. "You know that after me, the race is over."

Worley, the giant slalom world champion, toppled backward before twisting forward and landing in the safety netting. She lay still for a few moments before getting slowly back up. She was taken down the slope on a stretcher and to a hospital in Lyon. No further information was immediately available.

"I feel bad for her. She was in really good shape," Marlies said. "I know what it's like to have so many injuries. I wish her all the best for her comeback and I hope it's not too bad."

Anthony Sechaud, coach of the French women, feared Worley could miss the Winter Games in Sochi.

"Honestly, I'm very worried. It's a big blow for her," he said. "The contrast between now and two days ago has been a shock." Sechaud said the injury likely occurred not from the fall, but when Worley got her leg tangled up in the protective netting.

In September, world downhill champion Marion Rolland ruptured a knee ligament in a training crash. "It's a bad spell for us," Sechaud said.

— With files from The Canadian Press.

News from © The Associated Press, 2013
The Associated Press

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