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

John Shuster, 30 pounds lighter, rallies for 4th Olympic curling berth

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John Shuster is going to a fourth Olympics. It’s one more chance to prove Urban Dictionary wrong.

Shuster, 30 pounds lighter since his second straight Olympic failure in Sochi, led a team that beat Heath McCormick‘s squad at the U.S. Olympic Trials finals in Omaha on Saturday night.

Shuster, Tyler GeorgeMatt Hamilton and John Landsteiner lost the opener of a best-of-three finals series on Thursday.

They came back to deliver in a pair of must-win games, 9-4 on Friday night and 7-5 on Saturday, after spending each day at the Omaha Zoo.

The new-look Shuster — leaner and, at least this weekend, clutch — would astonish those who know him by scenes at the last two Olympics.

After taking bronze in 2006 as a role player, he led the last two U.S. Olympic teams to 2-7 records in 2010 and in 2014. Last place in Vancouver, where he was benched after an 0-4 start. Next to last place in Sochi.

After the last Olympics, the former bartender from Chisholm, Minn., was left off USA Curling’s 10-man high performance team.

He took it as motivation to get in shape.

Shuster, a father of a 2- and a 4-year-old who once said, “If I don’t have pizza three or four times a week, I’m not happy,” now totes meal replacement shakes. He’s starting to enjoy Olympic lifting.

Shuster, George, Hamilton and Landsteiner, all absent from that USA Curling high performance list, formed their own team. They became Team USA in their first season together and represented the Stars and Stripes at worlds in 2015, 2016 and 2017.

Their results — fourth, third and fifth —  marked the best string of U.S. men’s or women’s finishes at that level in a decade.

Shuster is set to join Debbie McCormick as the only Americans to curl at four Olympics. The sport was part of the first Winter Games in 1924, then absent as a medal sport until 1998.

“I don’t think it’s about the four Olympics for me,” Shuster said on NBCSN. “What this is about — and what I’m about — is getting my teammates to now. I have two new Olympians on this team, and I know how special that is.”

George, the 35-year-old vice skip for Shuster, led a team that lost to Shuster in the 2010 Olympic Trials final. The liquor store manager from Duluth, Minn., is going to his first Winter Games.

As is the 28-year-old Hamilton, whose younger sister qualified for PyeongChang earlier Saturday.

Landsteiner, a 27-year-old corrosion engineer, played with Shuster since 2011, including in Sochi.

Alternate Joe Polo can go 12 years between Olympic appearances after taking bronze on that Torino team.

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Katie Ledecky wins race by 54 seconds, breaks record

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Katie Ledecky is back at Stanford and back to pulverizing distance races.

The sophomore and five-time Olympic champion won a 1,650-yard freestyle by 54.45 seconds at a meet at Texas A&M on Saturday night.

The runner-up was in a different heat; Ledecky won her heat by 1:02.16.

Ledecky lowered her own American record, clocking 15:03.31. She had the previous mark of 15:03.92 set last Nov. 20.

Ledecky had every swimmer lapped in the 25-yard pool before the halfway point and ended up lapping everyone twice.

The men also raced a 1,650 on Saturday. The winner clocked 15:18.95, which was 15.64 seconds slower than Ledecky’s time.

Full results are here.

The 1,650 is the longest race on the NCAA program, while the longest race at the Olympics and world championships is the 1500m.

The No. 2 woman all-time in the 1,650 is triple 2008 Olympic medalist Katie Hoff, a full 21.04 seconds slower.

Ledecky owns the 1500m world record, too, 13.4 seconds faster than any other woman in history.

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MORE: Michael Phelps’ discussion with Katie Ledecky after 2017 Worlds