The women’s alpine competition in Sochi is down to its final event, the slalom, which will be run at 5:45 a.m. MT Friday morning at Rosa Khutor where defending champion Maria Hoefl-Riesch will attempt to make history and fend off 18-year-old American world champion Mikaela Shiffrin.
A win for the 29-year-old Hoefl-Riesch will give the German four Olympic gold medals, which would tie Janica Kostelic for the most all-time among female alpine skiers. Hoefl-Riesch is the current World Cup overall leader (fifth in the slalom) and already won the super combined this week by finishing third in the slalom and also won the silver in the Super-G. She is the 2009 world champion in the event and twice was the World Cup leader, although her best finish this season was second in Finland. Vreni Schneider of Switzerland is the only woman to win the event twice at the Olympics, which she accomplished in 1988 and 1994.
Shiffrin, from Colorado, is currently 80 points ahead of Sweden’s Frida Hansdotter in the World Cup slalom standings with three first-place finishes and is sixth overall. Last year, she became the first American woman to win the title since Tamara McKinney in 1984 and also took home the gold at the World Championships. Barbara Cochran was the most recent U.S. skier to win the slalom at the Olympics, at Sapporo in 1972.
ALSO IN THE FIELD
Marlies Schild (Austria, Age 32): defending Olympic silver medalist and 2006 bronze medalist, 2011 world champion, four-time World Cup leader, third on the circuit this season with two wins, also won silver in the combined at Torino 2006, four-time Olympian.
Sarka Strachova (Czech Republic, Age 29): won bronze medal at 2010 Olympics as Sarka Zahrobska, was first in the slalom portion of the super combined in Sochi but fell to 25th in the downhill, 2007 world champion, 16th in World Cup slalom standings.
Tina Maze (Slovenia, Age 30): two gold medals this week in the downhill and giant slalom, two silver medals from Vancouver 2010, defending World Cup overall winner, 14th in slalom this season with a third-place finish in Finland.
Bernadette Schild (Austria, Age 24): Marlies’ younger sister is seventh in World Cup slalom points two third-place results in 2013-14.
Maria Pietilae-Holmer (Sweden, Age 27): finished fourth in slalom at Vancouver 2010 and is sixth in the current World Cup standings.