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Schleper leads US in Slalom
WHISTLER OLYMPIC PARK, BC (Feb. 26) – Germany's Maria Riesch won her second gold of these Games in Friday's slalom, with Sarah Schleper (Vail, CO) leading the U.S. in 16th. Lindsey Vonn (Vail) straddled a gate on the first run and didn't finish, yet was happy to close the Games with a gold in the downhill and bronze in super G.
Racing with her chin bandaged from a cut sustained when she hit a gate in pre-race training, Schleper, a four-time Olympian, followed up a strong performance in giant slalom that landed her 14th with the day's ninth-fastest first run.
"My jacket was covered in blood, I turned my bib around," Schleper said. "It was a nice distraction up there though, I tried to stop the bleeding and get refocused for my run."
Schleper received five stitches in her chin between runs and went out fighting in the second. She was in the lead by four tenths, then hit a rut and got bounced off line.
"I would have liked to see how my time would have held up without that mistake, because I think I would have had a shot," she said.
Unlike her crash Wednesday in giant slalom, Vonn was off the pace before hitting a gate and getting a DNF.
"I came out of the starting gate charging," Vonn said. "But I haven't been skiing a lot of slalom and hit some mashed potato snow, and it was over before I knew it.
"Even though today and the GS wasn't a success, I'm happy with the way my Olympics has gone. I have a gold in the downhill and a bronze in super G and I couldn't ask for any more."
Hailey Duke (Boise, ID) was 30th in her Olympic debut, feeling shaky on her first run but rebounded with a performance she could be proud of. Park City's Megan McJames wheeled off course in the second run and did not finish, but will leave Vancouver with positive big race experience.
"It was a little rough the first run, but second run I skied a lot better," Duke said. "It felt a lot better and I had a big smile on my face when I came across the finish line."
The men's slalom kicks off with the first run Saturday at 10 a.m. PT, with the final at 1:45 P.M. Representing the U.S. is Bode Miller (Franconia, NH), Ted Ligety (Park City, UT), Jimmy Cochran (Keene, NH) and Nolan Kasper (Warren, VT)
2010 WINTER OLYMPIC GAMES
Whistler Creekside – Feb. 26
Gold – Maria Riesch, Germany, 1:42.89
Silver – Marlies Schild, Austria, 1:43.32
Bronze – Sarka Zahrobska, Czech Republic, 1:43.90
4. Maria Pietilae-Holmner, Sweden, 1:44.22
5. Sandrine Aubert, France, 1:44.46
16. Sarah Schleper, Vail, CO, 1:45.88
30. Hailey Duke, Boise, ID, 1:48.69
DNF 2 – Megan McJames, Park City, UT
DNF 1 – Lindsey Vonn, Vail, CO
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