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Germany's Riesch adds slalom gold medal to super-combined title

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2010-02-27

After her victory in the super-combined, Maria Riesch of Germany was crowned queen of the slalom at the Vancouver Olympics. She outperformed Marlies Schild of Austria and Czech Sarka Zahrobska, who finished second and third.

AFP - Maria Riesch of Germany was crowned the alpine queen of the Vancouver Games Friday when she added the slalom gold to her super-combined title.
Marlies Schild of Austria finished second to claim silver, her third career medal, while Sarka Zahrobska won bronze to hand the Czech Republic their maiden alpine medal at the Games.
Riesch, the slalom world champion and a long-time rival of American Lindsey Vonn -- who crashed out in the first run -- won the super-combined gold thanks to a solid slalom performance last week.
In testing weather conditions with snowfall and poor visibility and despite a late mistake which slowed her down, the big German's technique again looked unshakable.
With two gold to Vonn's title from the downhill and bronze in the super-G, Riesch can now be considered the biggest winner from the women's events.
Ahead of the men's final event of the slalom on Saturday, she is the only skier to have won two alpine golds at the Games. And, thanks to Viktoria Rebensburg's victory in the giant slalom Thursday, Germany now top the alpine medals table.
"The alpine women's ski team has three gold medals, it's unbelievable. Sometimes when there's some luck on the team, everyone takes it," said Riesch, who dominated the first run with a 0.40sec lead on Zahrobska and 0.65 on Schild.
"I really didn't think about winning slalom gold medal. My season has not been as consistent as last year. But after my gold in the combined I had a lot of confidence."
The slalom is one of the few alpine races that can be held in all types of weather. And Riesch, who was immediately embraced by Vonn -- her biggest rival but best friend -- wasn't going to let a little snow get in her way of gold.
"You can't think about that too much," added Riesch. "You just have to go out and do your best. Conditions are secondary."
Schild, who won slalom bronze and combined silver at Turin in 2006, admitted she found the going tougher.
"I tried to ski fast but visibility was not so good and skiing was difficult, but I'm very happy with what I achieved," said the Austrian, whose partner Benni Raich will be aiming for a medal in the men's slalom.
"I have two Olympic medals at home, and now I have a third."
After Austria's Elizabeth Goergl had set the early pace to top the provisional podium the specialists slowly moved her down the standings to an eventual seventh place finish.
Goergl's time lasted until France's Sandrine Aubert went top by half a second. Aubert went on to finish down in fifth place after Maria Pietliae-Holmner of Sweden, Schild, Zahrobska then Riesch pushed her further down.
Riesch, 25, went to console her sister Susanne whose fourth place finish in the first run prompted the possibility of having both sisters on the podium, but she skied out her second run after missing a gate.
Sweden's Anja Paerson, who crashed out of the downhill while in medals position and recovered to claim bronze in the super-combined, failed to make amends for a mediocre first run that left her 2.18 behind Riesch.
In the second run she skied out halfway through, ending her bid for a third consecutive slalom medal at the Olympics.

Date created : 2010-02-27