Resi Stiegler celebrated a return to the Audi FIS Alpine World Cup elite with a second place finish at the Ofterschwang slalom on Sunday. The finish marks the first podium of her injury-ridden career, coming in behind Erin Mielzynski of Canada. Mielzynski’s victory marks the first World Cup podium of her career, and is also the first female Canadian slalom win since 1971!
“This is a huge breakthrough and I worked really hard for this. Results are difficult to get even if you are skiing really fast. I almost don’t have words for how I feel”, said Stiegler.
Stiegler has endured a series of injuries stemming from a 2007 crash in Lienz, Austria. During the giant slalom she suffered a broken left forearm and right shinbone, along with torn ligaments in the right knee. Resi returned to competition on Valentine’s Day in 2009 to take 19th, but then broke her foot a week later. This injury was followed on November 19th by a fractured left tibia and femur while training in Colorado — causing her to be sidelined from the Vancouver Olympic Games. Since returning to the World Cup a little over a year later, she took 25th at the slalom in Aspen, Co. Resi Stiegler has remained committed to her sport and today’s podium signifies a personal victory for the tenacious skier.
Resi speaks to resisting the obstacles life has thrown her way, “This year was a crazy year. Never in my life did I ever want to just throw it in and I’ve had that feeling so many times this season. I think in the end I knew I worked so hard coming back from so many things I was just determined.”
Head Coach Alex Hoedlmoser was ecstatic about her athlete’s comeback, “Super, super psyched for Resi [Stiegler]. This is so amazing for her and it’s hard to put it into words actually. She was out for over two seasons completely. It’s incredibly tough to come back and catch up to the speed of world-class skiers. To get back to racing you have to learn how to race again.”
Lindsey Vonn went out in the first run, but retained her 494-point overall lead as Slovenia’s Tina Maze went out in final. Mikaela Shiffrin was third after the first run, but finished 27th after series of second run mistakes.
The women’s tour moves to Are, Sweden next weekend for a giant slalom and slalom.