Marlies Schild retires; impact on Mikaela Shiffrin
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.