Marlies Schild beats sister, wins World Cup slalom

COURCHEVEL, France — Marlies Schild joked that her younger sister would not have received any Christmas presents if she had prevented her from tying Vreni Schneider’s record for World Cup slalom victories.

Marlies overtook Bernadette on Tuesday to win her 34th slalom.

The 2011 slalom world champion was third after the first run in the morning. But the elder Schild posted a second run of 53.26 seconds to clinch victory ahead of Frida Hansdotter of Sweden. Bernadette Schild was third overall, and Kathrin Zettel of Austria fourth.

After Hansdotter could not match Marlies Schild’s time, it was down to Bernadette — nine years younger at 23 and seeking her first win — to stop her sister from matching the record.

Marlies Schild won for the third straight time at Courchevel, her first victory since winning a slalom race at Soldeu-Grandvalira in Andorra in February 2012.

“It’s a very big (weight) falling off my body and my heart,” she said. “It’s nearly two years ago since my last victory. Everyone was asking and asking what the problem was. I wasn’t feeling very good for a long time now.”

Matching Schneider’s record from 1986-95 was an extra bonus.

“Lindsey (Vonn) was always saying, `If you make records, it’s the only thing you remember.’ I don’t think that’s the main thing,” Marlies said. “It’s just that (it means) you are a good skier when you break records. I’m glad that it’s over now.”

Last season, she stopped racing in March to recover from another knee injury, but the hunger to keep going fueled her recovery.

“I lost some years because of injuries and always had the feeling that I could do more, and that’s the reason I’m still here,” she said. “I had back problems and knee surgery. I didn’t know if I could do it again. I was thinking a lot; I was thinking too much. But now I’ve got my self-confidence back.”

World champion Mikaela Shiffrin of the United States, who was seventh after the first run, finished 12th.

France’s Tessa Worley, who won a giant slalom in St. Moritz last weekend, was taken to the hospital after falling back on her skis and injuring her right knee in the first run.

Bernadette was .13 seconds faster than Hansdotter and .20 ahead of her sister after the first run.

Marlies, who won a bronze medal in slalom at the 2006 Olympics, flew down the Stade Emile Allais course on her second run — 1.43 faster than Zettel’s leading time.

Bernadette was more than one second behind. Still, she got a big hug from Marlies at the finish line for earning her second career podium finish, after taking second at Lenzerheide, Switzerland, in March.

In the unfamiliar position of leading the race, she felt some added stress.

“It wasn’t too easy to me. I had to breathe deeply to get my heart rate down. It’s different to stand up there when you’re the last one down,” Bernadette said. “You know that after me, the race is over.”

Worley, the giant slalom world champion, toppled backward before twisting forward and landing in the safety netting. She lay still for a few moments before getting slowly back up. She was taken down the slope on a stretcher and to a hospital in Lyon. No further information was immediately available.

“I feel bad for her. She was in really good shape,” Marlies said. “I know what it’s like to have so many injuries. I wish her all the best for her comeback and I hope it’s not too bad.”

Anthony Sechaud, coach of the French women, feared Worley could miss the Olympics.

“Honestly, I’m very worried. It’s a big blow for her,” he said. “The contrast between now and two days ago has been a shock.”

Sechaud said the injury likely occurred not from the fall, but when Worley got her leg tangled up in the netting.

In September, world downhill champion Marion Rolland ruptured a knee ligament in a training crash.

“It’s a bad spell for us,” Sechaud said.

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