Marlies Schild

Marlies Schild edges Mikaela Shiffrin, breaks record (video)

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Marlies Schild made history, and she might also have retaken the crown as world’s best slalom skier from American Mikaela Shiffrin.

Schild came back from sixth place after the first of two runs in Lienz, Austria, to win her 35th career World Cup slalom race on Sunday. That broke the Austrian’s tie with Swiss legend Vreni Schneider for the most ever.

Shiffrin took second after leading the first run. Schild was  .47 of a second faster than the field in the second run and beat Shiffrin’s two-run total by .41. Shiffrin was 10th fastest in the second run. German Maria Hoefl-Riesch was third overall.

“I am happy with a podium,” Shiffrin said, according to The Associated Press, adding “it’s a bit disappointing” to lose her first-run lead.

The women’s Alpine skiing World Cup continues with a slalom in Bormio, Italy, on Jan. 5.

Lindsey Vonn does not race slaloms. The earliest she could compete next is a Jan. 11 downhill in Altenmarkt, Austria, but her status going forward is unknown after she skied out of a downhill in Val d’Isere, France, on Dec. 21.

Schild, 32, won her second straight World Cup slalom in her comeback from tearing right knee ligaments on Dec. 20, 2012.

“It’s hard to believe but now for sure the record is mine,” Schild said, according to Reuters. “I must admit I felt relieved after [tying Schneider’s record in] Courchevel. I needed to break the jinx. It was making me nervous in the end. Everybody was talking about the record.

“I even noticed in training that there was a before and after Courchevel. I’m much more relaxed now.”

Shiffrin went on to win the World Championship and World Cup title in her absence last season.

Schild won Olympic silver in 2010, World Championships gold in 2011 and four of six World Cup titles from 2007 through 2012.

How close are Schild and Shiffrin now?

Shiffrin leads the World Cup slalom standings with 202 points after three races. Schild is in second place with 200 points.

“For me a girl like Shiffrin is a great motivation,” Schild said, according to Reuters. “I must keep up with the younger skiers and I’m aware that time is not on my side.”

Lienz Slalom
1. Marlies Schild (AUT) 1:55.63
2. Mikaela Shiffrin (USA) 1:56.04
3. Maria Hoefl-Riesch (GER) 1:56.26
4. Marie-Michele Gagnon (CAN) 1:56.64
5. Nina Loeseth (NOR) 1:56.87
6. Frida Hansdotter (SWE) 1:57.06
7. Chiara Costazza (ITA) 1:57.11
8. Christina Geiger (GER) 1:57.27
9. Wendy Holdener (SUI) 1:57.35
10. Anne-Sophie Barthet (FRA) 1:57.76
16. Resi Stiegler (USA) 1:58.70

History made at U.S. Olympic Nordic Combined Trials

Ex-USA Gymnastics doctor pleads guilty to sexual assault

AP
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LANSING, Mich. (AP) — A sports doctor accused of molesting girls while working for USA Gymnastics and Michigan State University pleaded guilty Wednesday to multiple charges of sexual assault and will face at least 25 years in prison.

Larry Nassar, 54, was charged with molesting seven girls, mostly under the guise of treatment at his Lansing-area home and a campus clinic.

All but one of his accusers was a gymnast. He faces similar charges in a neighboring county and lawsuits filed by more than 125 women and girls.

Olympic gymnasts Aly Raisman, McKayla Maroney and Gabby Douglas are among the women who have publicly said they were among Nassar’s victims.

Some of his accusers attended the hearing Wednesday in a packed Ingham County courtroom.

The plea deal in Ingham County calls for a minimum prison sentence of 25 years, but a judge could set the minimum sentence as high as 40 years. In Michigan, inmates are eligible for parole after serving a minimum sentence.

Sentencing was set for Jan. 12.

The girls have testified that Nassar molested them with his hands, sometimes when a parent was present in the room, while they sought help for gymnastics injuries.

“He convinced these girls that this was some type of legitimate treatment,” Assistant Attorney General Angela Poviliatis told a judge last summer. “Why would they question him? Why would they question this gymnastics god?”

Separately, Nassar is charged with similar crimes in Eaton County, the location of an elite gymnastics club. He also is awaiting sentencing in federal court on child pornography charges.

The Michigan criminal cases against Nassar followed reports last year in the Indianapolis Star about how USA Gymnastics, which trains Olympians, mishandled complaints about sexual misconduct involving the doctor and coaches.

Women and girls said the stories inspired them to step forward with detailed allegations of abuse, sometimes when their parents were in the exam room at Michigan State.

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MORE: Aly Raisman in book: ‘Horrible memories’ with Larry Nassar

Indian police probe Maria Sharapova housing fraud case

AP
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NEW DELHI (AP) — Maria Sharapova is being investigated by police in India in a cheating and criminal conspiracy case involving a real estate company who used the tennis star to endorse a luxury housing project that never took off.

Real estate firm Homestead Infrastructure is accused of taking tens of millions of rupees (millions of dollars) from home buyers for a project named “Ballet by Maria Sharapova,” a luxury apartment complex with its own helipad, tennis academy and other amenities.

The five-time Grand Slam champion and Olympic silver medalist traveled to India in 2013 to launch the project at a glitzy ceremony. Police began the investigation on Nov. 16.

Piyush Singh, a lawyer representing one of the home buyers, said Wednesday that Sharapova’s celebrity was the reason most people put their money into the project.

Singh said his client, Bhawana Agarwal, paid Homestead Infrastructure 5.3 million rupees ($81,678) in 2013 because she was impressed by Sharapova’s association with the project located in Gurgaon, a suburb of the Indian capital. The cost of an apartment in the swanky project was 20 million rupees ($308,000).

Agarwal then spent the next three years chasing the builders for updates on the property and her investment in it but they stopped taking her calls, Singh said. On Wednesday, several calls to the numbers of the building company’s website went unanswered.

“The project never saw the light of day,” Singh said.

Singh said the police investigation based on his client’s complaint was testing relatively new legal ground – that celebrities endorsing projects that draw vast sums of money from investors had a responsibility “to do some due diligence” on the project before lending their name and credibility to it.

Sharapova isn’t the only international sports celebrity that the real estate firm roped in. Its website also advertises a project with Formula One great Michael Schumacher called the Michael Schumacher World Tower.

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MORE: Sharapova not fully committed to 2020 Olympic run