LIENZ, Austria — Overcoming several injury-plagued seasons, Marlies Schild of Austria finally set the best mark for most World Cup slalom victories Sunday by winning her 35th race to overtake Switzerland’s Vreni Schneider on top of the all-time list.
The 32-year-old Schild is a four-time World Cup slalom champion, but she missed a host of races after breaking a leg in 2008 and then tore ligaments last year. That meant she was stuck on 33 slalom wins for close to two years until winning in Courchevel, France, this month.
“My 34th win was a weight off my shoulders,” Schild said. “Suddenly everything got easier in training though racing is still something different.”
Schild got her record-setting win in impressive style. Lying 0.69 seconds behind in sixth after the opening leg, she used a blistering second run to finish in 1 minute, 55.63 seconds and beat American teenager Mikaela Shiffrin, who led the competition after the first run. Shiffrin finished 0.41 behind.
Olympic slalom champion Maria Hoefl-Riesch of Germany was third, 0.63 behind Schild.
“It was tough for me,” said Schild, who celebrated her fourth career win in a Lienz slalom. “I had not a good feeling in the first run. In the second, my skiing felt really well and I just tried to point my skis down.”
The victory was Schild’s 54th career podium in slalom. She is now tied with fellow Austrian Annemarie Moser-Proell (downhill) for the second most podiums in one discipline. Only another Austrian skier, Renate Goetschl, has more, with 59 top-three finishes in downhill.
Shiffrin has never made a secret of her admiration for Schild, making her defeat by the Austrian bearable.
“I always want to win but she skied better and was faster,” Shiffrin said. “I am OK with taking second place. If she skies better, I am all for it. She is still one of my idols and she keeps inspiring me. As long as I am on the podium with her, I am happy.”