Olympic gold medalist Maria Riesch of Germany won her second straight slalom World Cup title with a third-place finish in the final race of the season yesterday at Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany.
Marlies Schild of Austria won the race by a big margin, with teammate Kathrin Zettel placing second. But Riesch’s third-place finish was enough to give her the slalom title with 493 points, just 3 ahead of Zettel.
“It was not a very good day on the slope for me,’’ Riesch said. “The first run was not good at all, and in the second I never managed to release the hand brake. I was really very, very lucky to get the title.’’
She finished second in the overall standings behind good friend Lindsey Vonn, who clinched her third straight title by winning Friday’s super-G race and then decided to skip the final event. Vonn watched the race in the finish area.
Riesch, who won the combined gold medal at the Olympics, could have lost the title if Zettel had won.
Schild, the Olympic silver medalist, had a comfortable lead after the first run, increasing it to a massive 1.20 seconds over Zettel. Schild clocked an aggregate time of 1:49.57. Riesch was 1.90 seconds behind in third.
Schild’s 21st slalom victory moved her into a tie with Erika Hess of Switzerland in second place on the all-time list for slalom wins. Vreni Schneider of Switzerland had 34. Schild also has two other wins.
Men’s slalom — Reinfried Herbst gave Austria its only men’s title of the season, clinching the slalom crystal globe in the final race, while American Ted Ligety, who clinched the giant slalom title Friday, clipped the first gate of the second run and dropped out.
Felix Neureuther delighted his hometown (Garmisch-Partenkirchen) crowd by posting the fastest second run after finishing fifth in the first. He finished in a combined time of 1:43.63, with first-run leader Manfred Pranger of Austria second, 0.29 seconds behind. Olympic bronze medalist Andre Myhrer of Sweden was third.
Bode Miller skipped the final races to rest his sore right ankle.
Nordic combined — Magnus Moan anchored Norway to victory in a team event in Oslo, overtaking Mario Stecher on the final leg of the cross-country race.
The Norwegian team finished the 20K relay in 49:13.3.