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

Teddy Riner, dominant judoka, to skip 2018, 2019 Worlds

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French judoka Teddy Riner, arguably the world’s most dominant athlete, will reportedly skip the next two world championships before the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

French coach Franck Chambily said Riner will compete a light international schedule the next two years ahead of what would be his fourth Olympics, according to Agence France-Presse.

Riner, a 29-year-old, 6-foot-8-inch native of Guadeloupe, is undefeated since 2010 with a reported 144-match winning streak. That includes Olympic titles in 2012 and 2016 and world titles in 2011, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2017.

Before the streak, Riner also earned world titles in 2007, 2009 and 2010, plus an Olympic bronze at age 19 in 2008.

He could compete through the 2024 Paris Games.

“When I am invincible, I will stop,” Riner said in 2013, according to The Associated Press.

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Maggie Nichols wins NCAA all-around title with perfect 10

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Even after a perfect 10 in the last rotation, Maggie Nichols didn’t know that she had won the NCAA all-around title. Her coach at Oklahoma, K.J. Kindler, had to tell her.

The reaction?

“Excitement,” Nichols said Friday night on ESPNU. “I just wanted to go out there and feel out the equipment, staying calm and doing my routines that I have been doing in training.”

Nichols, a 2015 World team champion who retired from elite gymnastics after missing the 2016 Olympic team (set back by a torn meniscus that year), became the first Sooner to win the NCAA all-around in 30 years.

The sophomore tallied 39.8125 points and topped Olympic alternate MyKayla Skinner of Utah by .0875 for the title in St. Louis. It came one year after Nichols was 29th in the all-around with a balance beam fall.

Oklahoma and Utah will be joined in Saturday night’s Super Six team finals by UCLA, LSU, Florida and Nebraska. The Sooners eye their third straight national title.

Nichols capped her night with one of two perfect scores between the two semifinal sessions, matching 2012 Olympic alternate Elizabeth Price‘s 10 on uneven bars. It gave Nichols a second career gym slam, a perfect score on every apparatus for the season.

On Jan. 9, Nichols came forward as “Athlete A,” who first reported to USA Gymnastics that she was sexually abused by Larry Nassar in summer 2015.

“She has had a really unique year probably like no one else, and her strength showed through,” Kindler said Friday, according to the University of Oklahoma. “It was tough, and to come out on this side this year is really special.”

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