Marlies Schild

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.

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The science behind Mikaela Shiffrin’s gold medal slalom runs

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Despite being 18, Mikaela Shiffrin’s technical prowess made her a strong favorite going into the women’s slalom on Friday; she proved why with a strong gold-medal performance.

For those who wonder why she’s a stride or three ahead of even her elite competition, this GE: Brilliant Performances video breaks down her edge over the pack by providing a side-by-side comparison between Shiffrin and silver medalist Marlies Schild of Austria:

Run 1 shows why she’s dominant

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Run 2 captures her near-fall

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What Shiffrin said of this moment:

She lost a big chunk of her edge over Schild & Co., but ultimately composed herself and held on for gold:

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To see it all in motion, click here.

What to watch on Day 14 of Sochi Olympics

Mikaela Shiffrin
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Here’s a look at the compelling events, athletes and storylines of the Sochi Olympics on Friday, Feb. 21. A complete list of every Friday event can be found here.

WHAT TO WAKE UP EARLY FOR …

Men’s hockey semifinals, Sweden-Finland, 7 a.m. ETCLICK HERE TO WATCH EVENT LIVE

This is a rematch of the 2006 Olympic gold-medal game, won 3-2 by Sweden, which has taken the last two Olympic men’s hockey golds on European ice.

The Swedes will lean on the same goalie as in Torino, Henrik Lundqvist, against the Finns’ Tuukka Rask. They were both stellar in quarterfinal victories over Slovenia and Russia, respectively.

Sweden is looking to make its third gold-medal game. Finland has won five Olympic hockey medals, all in the last seven Winter Games, but no golds.

Alpine skiing, women’s slalom, 7:15 a.m. ET/11:15 a.m. ETCLICK HERE TO WATCH FIRST RUN | SECOND RUN

Mikaela Shiffrin is the gold-medal favorite here, the reigning world champion and World Cup champion and current World Cup leader. Shiffrin, 18, would be the fifth different U.S. Alpine skier to win a medal at these Games, matching the American record set in 1984.

Her biggest competition could come from one her idols, Austrian Marlies Schild. Schild, 32, was the world’s best slalom skier before tearing knee ligaments in December 2012 and watching Shiffrin take her crown.

Also watch out for all-around stars Maria Hoefl-Riesch and Tina Maze.

Men’s curling final, Canada-Great Britain, 8:30 a.m. ET CLICK HERE TO WATCH EVENT LIVE

Canada will go for its third straight men’s curling gold with a third different rink. Canada could also become the first nation to sweep Olympic curling golds, after Jennifer Jones completed her undefeated run Thursday.

Upstart Great Britain knocked off 2010 Olympic silver medalist Norway in a tiebreaker playoff and world champion Sweden in the semifinals, both by one point.

Great Britain has not won an Olympic men’s curling medal since taking gold at the first Winter Games in 1924 before curling was taken out of the program for seven decades.

Speed skating, men’s and women’s team pursuit, 8:30 a.m. ET CLICK HERE TO WATCH EVENT LIVE

Can US Speedskating salvage a long track medal? The final two events of the Olympic program get started Friday. The U.S. has won at least one speed skating medal at every Olympics since 1984.

The U.S. women are longshots for a medal given they are matched up against the Netherlands in their quarterfinal at 9:40 a.m. ET.

The men have a realistic shot, drawing Canada in an 8:30 a.m. quarterfinal. Canada beat the U.S. for gold in 2010 but is not as strong here and, obviously, not on home ice.

The U.S. will field three skaters out of a group of four each round, choosing from Shani Davis, Brian Hansen, Jonathan Kuck and Joey Mantia.

The U.S.-Canada winner will face the South Korea-Russia winner in the semifinals at 10:13 a.m. The winner of the semifinal will be guaranteed a gold or silver medal (the final is Saturday). The loser will vie for bronze Saturday.

The Netherlands, a heavy gold-medal favorite despite winning bronze in 2006 and 2010, is on the other side of the bracket.

WHAT YOU CAN’T MISS DURING THE DAY …

Men’s hockey semifinal, U.S.-Canada, 12 p.m. ET CLICK HERE TO WATCH EVENT LIVE

This is a rematch of the 2010 Olympic gold-medal game, won by Canada on Sidney Crosby’s overtime goal. This game could be just as tight.

The U.S. won its first four games by a combined 14 goals. Canada has been less dominant, taking its last two games 2-1 (including one over minnow Latvia in the quarterfinals). The goalie matchup will be Jonathan Quick against Carey Price.

The winner of this game is guaranteed a medal. Canada has not won a men’s hockey medal at a non-North American Winter Olympics since 1994. The U.S. hasn’t done it since 1972.

Short track speed skating, men’s 500m, women’s 1000m, men’s 5000m relay, 12:43 p.m. ET CLICK HERE TO WATCH EVENT LIVE

US Speedskating is also looking for it first short track medal of these Olympics, after winning six in 2010. U.S. short track skaters have been shut out of the medals once (1998) since the sport was added to the Olympics in 1992.

The U.S. is more likely than not to win a short track medal Friday.

J.R. Celski is the world-record holder in the 500m, the only event he didn’t skate at the 2010 Olympics, and won’t have to deal with 2010 Olympic champion Charles Hamelin of Canada.

The 5000m relay medal final is missing 2010 gold and silver medalists Canada and South Korea.

The U.S. won bronze in 2010 and is in a final field Friday that includes strong nations Russia and China and two nations, the Netherlands and Kazakhstan, that own a combined one Olympic short track medal ever.

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