Reuters - Sat, 13 Mar 13:20:00 2010
Double Olympic gold medallist Maria Riesch added another title to her growing collection when she won the slalom World Cup in her home town of Garmisch-Partenkirchen.
A third-place finish in the final race of the season was enough for the 25-year-old German to win the crystal globe by a mere three points from Austria's Kathrin Zettel, who finished second.
Austrian Marlies Schild won the race by an impressive one minute 20 seconds, her third World Cup victory of a season in which she has returned to the circuit after sustaining a badly fractured leg in a pre-season crash in 2008.
Riesch, who took the title for the second year in a row, won the combined and slalom gold medals at last month's Vancouver Olympics and was second behind Lindsey Vonn in the overall World Cup. Last year, she also won the slalom at the world championships.
"I was certainly more nervous than at the Olympics because I didn't feel the same level of energy and the same aggressiveness in me as I did in Canada," said Riesch, who was racing for the fourth time in four days.
"It has been a long season and I was really tired," added Riesch, winner of Wednesday's downhill.
"I didn't have the juice as I did in February but I'm really proud to get my second podium in four days, this consistency is extraordinary.
"I told myself that even if I didn't win today, I've had a perfect season. The conditions were really tough and demanding."
Schild, the silver medallist in Vancouver, notched her 23rd win in a World Cup race, 21 of which have been in slalom, to finish third in the slalom standings.
"This is exactly the way I wanted to finish the season with another win, especially on this difficult course," said the 28-year-old, who needed surgery four times on her leg and missed the entire 2008-09 season.
"To do well on a course which was so icy and so steep, to excel in these conditions, was a big boost in my comeback season.
"I did much more than I expected with three wins and an Olympic silver medal," added the former all-rounder, who now concentrates on slalom to reduce the risk of another injury.
"This is what I needed to get ready for next year. I'm ecstatic to have done so well in these conditions."