GARMISCH-PARTENKIRCHEN, Germany – Olympic slalom gold medalist Maria Riesch of Germany was in classic form Saturday, finishing on the podium for the home crowd to win the Audi FIS World Cup slalom title. Sarah Schleper (Vail, CO) led the charge for the U.S. finishing 20th.
Austrians Marlies Schild and Kathrin Zettel joined Riesch atop the podium, finishing first and second, respectively.
With her signature lion’s roar belted out, Schleper took to the hill, but what she feels was a lackluster performance left her disappointed.
“It’s been a long season and I might have hung up my skis after the Olympics a little bit. I wanted to come here and fight, but I’m pretty disappointed in my performances here,” Schleper said.
However, from the disappointment, Schleper also feels hope that she can learn from the experience and take things a step up.
“I hope to bring some motivation from these races into summer training and get fast,” Schleper said.
Like most of her teammates, Schleper is now looking forward to the team event, a dual format nation’s race which will cap off the World Cup Finals on Sunday.
“Maybe we can have some U.S. redemption and just slay all these ski nations out here tomorrow,” Schleper said.
The U.S. will be represented Sunday by Ted Ligety (Park City, UT), Jimmy Cochran (Keene, NH), Schleper and Stacey Cook (Mammoth Mountain, CA) in the final event, which will award the winner of the event with 100,000 Swiss francs.
Fans can catch the team race live on UniversalSports.com on Sunday morning.
With her third straight Audi FIS World Cup overall title in the bag, Olympic champion Lindsey Vonn (Vail, CO) took the day off. She ended the campaign with season-long titles in downhill, super G, super combined and the overall in addition to her Olympic gold and bronze medals.
2010 AUDI FIS WORLD CUP FINALS
Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany – March 13, 2010
1. Marlies Schild, Austria, 1:49.57
2. Kathrin Zettel, Austria, 1:50.77
3. Maria Riesch, Germany, 1:51.47
4. Fanny Chmelar, Germany, 1:51.64
5. Sandrine Aubert, France, 1:51.81
20. Sarah Schleper, Vail, CO, 1:53.87