Marlies Schild Snow Queen for the fourth time!
ZAGREB, Croatia- With four victories, there is only one real Snow Queen in Zagreb and her name is Marlies Schild. She was once again sovereign on the long “Crveni Spust” course on Sljeme, leaving Tina Maze in second place, 1.40 seconds behind. Third ranked Michaela Kirchgasser, who reached her first career Slalom podium made it down 2.27 seconds behind the leader.
Schild has a history of winning in with huge margins, but by leaving the second ranked over a second and the third ranker over two seconds behind, she made a clear statement. She is the best Slalom skier at the moment and she has no intention of giving up that title anytime soon.
“I wanted to ski fast and ski well, it was not so easy but I manage to push till the finish line,” a glowing Schild said. It’s just incredible how after over 30 victories, she still gets excited about them as if they were her first.
“This is my fourth crown and I have a special shelf for them at home, the manage to impress everyone who comes into the house. It’s a beautiful collection. I always try to be relaxed when I ski, I don’t like to get too nervous. Having fun while I ski is really important for me.”
Schild obviously doesn’t mind the length of the course in Zagreb.
“No problem for me, I don’t mind it being so long. But now, I am ready for a break. It’s been four Slaloms in two weeks and I am starting to feel the tiredness. It’s hard for the head to keep the focus, so I am looking forward to two weeks of training and skiing just for fun a little bit.”
Breaking Vreni Schneider’s record (34 Slalom victories, while Schild has 32) seems to be something Schild doesn’t think too much about.
“I’m getting closer to it, just one or two victories away, but we will see what happens with that. I don’t really think about it, I try to ski and have fun so if and when it happens I’ll be happy.”
There is no secret to why I am so strong at the moment, I have been training really well and I try to do that in the races as well and so far it has worked. I try not to think about why it works, as long as it just does!
Tina Maze might have started as a Slalom skier, but after reaching her first podium on home turf in Maribor in 2010, it quickly became a strong discipline for her. Since then, she climbed on the podium a total of seven times, including one victory in Lenzerheide last season. Tonight’s second place is her second time on the podium this year, she was second in Lienz less than a week ago.
“It was great here in Zagreb,” Maze said. “Last night at the bib draw, with no Croatian skiers racing today, I told the crowd I wished they would cheer for me as if I was their own. I really think they did, I felt warm and welcomed here- a big thank you to everyone, they made me feel at home.”
Today was fun to race here tonight on Sljeme. It’s a long course and it was not easy keeping my focus till the very end. I think I was skiing well but obviously Marlies was skiing better,” Maze said and than adds jokingly-“I was a little bit mad at her!”
“I am really happy with my second place and all I can wish for is to keep skiing like this and be fast,” she said getting more serious again.
Kirchgasser couldn’t have chosen a better race to reach her first Slalom podium. Zagreb is well known for the atmosphere and all the athletes seem to really appreciate that, “Kirchi” included.
“I always love skiing here, but in the past Sljeme wasn’t really loving me in the past years. I am glad it changed now!” Kirchgasser was thrilled about finally achieving a good result on Sljeme.
“It has been really worm here in the past days so it was not easy to make a good race. The course is not easy, it was a bit rough at some points but overall conditions were really good. This being my first Slalom podium I can’t say much about how it is at the other races, but judging by this race, I could very easily get used to standing up there,” she added smiling.
Despite the Croatians not having their own athletes on start this year, the race had a great turnout, approximately 8000 cheering fans cheered on every single racer that came down the slope. Sljeme once again created its well known atmosphere in the finish area and proved to be one of the races to which ladies are happy to come back to.
It’s the men’s time to race here on the 5th of January, and the big question seems to be- after getting second three times, can homeboy Ivica Kostelic finally take home the crystal crown?
Full results can be found here.
Don't forget to check out the video.
by Ana Jelusic