Schneider's record becomes a curse for Schild

Sat Nov 16, 2013 11:53am EST
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By Patrick Lang

LEVI, Finland (Reuters) - Since she set her sights on Vreni Schneider's record of 34 World Cup slalom victories, Marlies Schild has been cursed by ill fate and then eclipsed by the rise of gifted American specialist Mikaela Shiffrin.

Schild and Shiffrin were back in action on Saturday and the trend continued: while the American outclassed the rest of the field in the first slalom of the ski race season, the Austrian failed to complete the first run.

After winning the 2011 slalom world title in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Schild captured six races to claim the discipline's crystal globe for the fourth time.

In the Andorran resort of Soldeu in February 2012, when she won her 33rd World Cup slalom, it seemed only a matter of weeks before she would equal and then upstage Swiss Schneider's record haul of the late 1980s.

Schild's winning run suddenly stopped dead, however. Consistency eluded her and she had to be content with a couple of podium places in the following months before injury struck.

The Austrian queen of slalom tore knee ligaments in Are a few days before Christmas 2012, raising fears that her season was over.

That same weekend, victory went to the up-and-coming Shiffrin, who snatched her maiden World Cup victory on the Swedish slopes.

Fourteen years younger than Schild, the skier from Vail had looked completely bemused nearly a year earlier when she found herself standing on the podium next to her idol in Lienz.   Continued...

Marlies Schild of Austria reacts during the second run of the women's Slalom race at the World Alpine Skiing Championships in Schladming February 16, 2013. REUTERS/Ruben Sprich