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

U.S. senators speak up as women’s hockey worlds near with no resolution

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WASHINGTON (AP) — Sixteen U.S. senators wrote a letter to USA Hockey’s executive director Monday over their concerns about the treatment of the women’s national team.

Players have threatened to boycott the upcoming world championships over a wage dispute. The senators, all Democrats, urged David Ogrean to resolve the matter and ensure the team receives “equitable resources.” They cited the Ted Stevens Olympic and Amateur Sports Act.

USA Hockey’s board of directors meets Monday, and players said Sunday night they hope there’s a deal.

The senators, all Democrats, joined a chorus of support that includes unions representing players from the NHL, NBA, NFL and Major League Baseball. Those organizations said over the weekend they stood with the women’s team and criticized USA Hockey for attempting to find replacement players.

Prominent NHL agent Allan Walsh tweeted Sunday, “Word circulating among NHL players that American players will refuse to play in men’s World Championships in solidarity with the women.”

Zach Bogosian, an American-born Buffalo Sabres defenseman, went to high school with U.S. captain Meghan Duggan. He tweeted his support and said he hopes the dispute is resolved.

The U.S. is the defending champion at the International Ice Hockey Women’s World Championship, which begins Friday in Plymouth, Michigan.

In negotiations over the past 15 months, players have asked for a four-year contract that pays them outside the six-month Olympic period. The senators’ letter notes the $6,000 that players earn around the Olympics and USA Hockey’s $3.5 million annual spending on the men’s national team development program and other discrepancies.

“These elite athletes indeed deserve fairness and respect, and we hope you will be a leader on this issue as women continue to push for equality in athletics,” the senators wrote.

In a statement Sunday night, players said they hoped USA Hockey would approve terms discussed during a meeting last week. They said the agreement has the “potential to be a game changer for everyone.”

The letter was signed by: Elizabeth Warren and Edward Markey of Massachusetts, Patty Murray of Washington, Dianne Feinstein of California, Patrick Leahy of Vermont, Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire, Sherrod Brown of Ohio, Thomas Carper of Delaware, Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin, Robert Menendez and Cory Booker of New Jersey, Mazie Hirono of Hawaii, Bob Casey of Pennsylvania, Kirsten Gillibrand of New York and Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota.

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Ugandan Olympian’s body shuts down at World Cross-Country Champs (video)

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Ugandan Joshua Cheptegei went from leading the race to finishing 30th in the final kilometer at the World Cross-Country Championships in Kampala, Uganda, on Sunday.

Cheptegei, a 20-year-old Olympian, saw his body shut down in the last four minutes of his race.

His stride shortened. His pace slowed. Cheptegei appeared on the verge of falling. At one point, a teammate deliberately pushed him from behind to keep going.

Cheptegei led by 12 seconds going into the final two-kilometer lap. He would finish 1 minute, 44 seconds behind Kenyan winner Geoffrey Kamworor, with 28 other runners separating them after the 10km race that took about a half-hour.

Cheptegei’s body movement looked similar to that of British triathlete Jonny Brownlee, who had to be helped to the finish line by brother Alistair Brownlee at the World Triathlon Series Grand Final in Cozumel, Mexico, in September.

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