Marlies Schild, Mikaela Shiffrin

Marlies Schild retires; impact on Mikaela Shiffrin

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Austrian skier Marlies Schild announced her retirement Tuesday, going out as the all-time leader in World Cup slalom wins.

“I’ve lived a dream that I’d held on to since I was a little girl,” Schild said in a Vienna press conference, according to Agence France-Presse. “But the time’s now come for me to move on to something else in my life. From today, my career is over.”

Schild, 33, broke Vreni Schneider‘s record for World Cup slalom victories with her 35th and final win in Lienz, Austria, on Dec. 29. She followed that up with her third straight Olympic slalom medal in Sochi, a silver behind Mikaela Shiffrin.

Schild won four Olympic medals in all, but no golds, and five individual World Championships medals. She succeeded Croatian Janica Kostelic as the world’s dominant slalom skier, winning the World Cup season titles in 2007, 2008, 2011 and 2012.

Schild tore right knee ligaments on Dec. 20, 2012, paving the way for Shiffrin to take over as the No. 1 slalom skier in the world. Shiffrin won the World Cup season slalom titles in 2013 and 2014, the World Championship in 2013 and the Olympics in 2014.

“I am proud that I managed to fight my way back to the top time after time,” Schild said, according to The Associated Press. “I am a fighter and somehow I’ve always found ways to battle back. But now, I can’t ski the perfect slalom anymore. It’s still good, but not as good as in my best years.”

Schild won her first World Cup slalom on Shiffrin’s 9th birthday, March 13, 2004.

When Shiffrin made her first World Cup podium in Lienz on Dec. 29, 2011, she blurted out to the winner Schild.

“Oh my gosh, I’m such a big fan,” Shiffrin said, according to The New York Times. “Well, I’m also on the podium with you. But I’m still a big fan.”

The 2014-15 season begins with a giant slalom in Soelden, Austria, the last weekend of October.

Shiffrin, 19, now enters as an even bigger favorite to become the first woman to win three straight World Cup slalom season titles since Schneider won four straight from 1992-95. Swedes Frida Hansdotter and Maria Pietilae-Holmner are the only other women from the top five of last season’s World Cup standings who haven’t retired.

Shiffrin may also enter her first World Cup speed races this season, as well as continue racing giant slalom.

Berlin, Hamburg submit Olympic bid intentions

Claressa Shields congratulated by famous boxing actor (video)

Claressa Shields
Getty Images
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Claressa Shields may just be the most dominant female athlete on the planet. The Flint, Mich., native is now a two-time Olympic boxing champion with a 77-1 record and a four-year unbeaten streak.

Actor Mark Wahlberg, who played boxer Micky Ward in the 2010 film “The Fighter,” took notice.

He taped a video that Shields watched before a celebration in her hometown Thursday, according to the Flint Journal.

“You are the true definition of a champion,” Wahlberg said. “You continue to inspire so many people, not only in Flint, but all over the world. I’m so proud of you. Your performance was amazing. God bless you. I look forward to seeing you, and I look forward to doing lots of things with you.”

Now Shields must decide whether to turn professional, which would end her Olympic career.

“Professional women’s boxing is not nowhere near on the same attention level as the Olympics are,” the 21-year-old Shields said, according to the Flint Journal. “I get way more attention than any female boxer who is professional right now with me being an amateur.

“So the goal is to go professional but still have that same attention and same mainstream. Hopefully, if they have the rule changed that the women professionals can come back and fight the Olympics, I would go professional to fight on TV and make a bunch of money but then come back and defend my two gold medals in 2020.”

MORE: Shields becomes first U.S. fighter to win back-to-back golds

Russian Olympic medalists gifts include racehorse

Abdulrashid Sadulaev
AP
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MOSCOW (AP) — Luxury cars, apartments, even a racehorse — being an Olympic medalist in Russia can come with great material rewards but also controversy.

Under President Vladimir Putin, it’s become a tradition for Russia’s Olympic heroes to be showered with large cash sums and sometimes unwanted gifts.

On Friday, less than 24 hours after dozens of medalists were presented with BMW cars at the Kremlin by Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, an advertisement appeared online offering one of them for sale, with photographs showing the car still covered in stickers celebrating Russia’s medal haul in Rio.

The advertisement offering the BMW X6 for 4.67 million rubles ($72,000) was anonymous and quickly withdrawn. It couldn’t be independently verified by The Associated Press, though Russian agency R-Sport claimed the seller was a Russian medalist who thought the car was too big and unwieldy.

Figure skater Maxim Trankov, who received a Mercedes-Benz SUV for his gold medal in 2014, said few Olympians could afford to own such cars.

“Has no one thought that these gift cars are not only liable for the tax on luxury items, but also aren’t cheap to run and earnings can’t cover it?” he wrote on Twitter. “I’d sell mine too if it came to it … Or does everyone think all sports pay as well as soccer, hockey or tennis?”

Gymnast Seda Tutkhalyan said she wouldn’t be able to drive her new BMW because at 17 years of age she was too young to have a license.

While online commenters mostly supported an athlete’s right to sell expensive Olympic gifts, many were critical of the government for a display of conspicuous consumption at the Kremlin at a time when Russia’s pension and healthcare systems are under financial strain.

It’s not fully clear how much the prizes have cost the Russian government.

State TV channel Rossiya 24 reported that the fleet of BMWs was provided by the Olympians’ Support Fund, which is backed by a group of Russia’s richest men, but that the accompanying cash prizes of tens of thousands of dollars per medalist came in part from the federal budget.

More awards are on offer from regional governments, many of which made public displays of generosity despite financial troubles of their own.

The Caucasus region of North Ossetia last month promised a free apartment for any medalists from the area, though it isn’t clear if this has happened yet.

In another grand gesture, the head of the restive Dagestan region gave Olympic wrestling champion Abdulrashid Sadulaev 6 million rubles ($93,000) in cash and a racehorse at a lavish welcoming ceremony featured on local TV.

Still, all may not be well for Sadulaev, who’s nicknamed the “Russian Tank” for his habit of crushing opponents on the wrestling mat. He’s already facing an allegation from a Moscow radio presenter of reckless driving in his eye-catching BMW.

MORE: Putin slams Russia’s Paralympic ban