Winter sports: Tina Maze's win in World Cup slalom sets up showdown with Shiffrin
Ofterschwang, Germany • Overall champion Tina Maze of Slovenia beat Mikaela Shiffrin in a World Cup slalom Sunday to overtake the American teenager in the discipline standings and close in on becoming the first woman to win five crystal globes in a season.
Maze also got a piece of another record in a season where she has already broken several, equaling Austrian great Hermann Maier's mark of 22 World Cup podiums in 1999-2000. The Slovenian earlier broke Maier's record for points in a season, and she extended her total to 2,254 with her 10th win.
Maze finished her two runs on the Ofterschwanger Horn course in 1 minute, 52.85 seconds to beat Wendy Holdener of Switzerland by 0.25 seconds.
More importantly, though, she beat the 17-year-old Shiffrin after trailing the American world champion by one-tenth of a second on the first run. Shiffrin, of Vail, Colo., couldn't protect her lead and finished 0.75 behind in third place, giving Maze a seven-point lead in the slalom standings going into Saturday's last race of the season, at Lenzerheide, Switzerland.
"There was a bit of nervousness there, because it's a discipline in which you have to attack and risk a little bit," Maze said. "So for me today, it was important just to stay calm and ski not to think too much."
With a win worth 100 points and second place getting 80, a win for either Shiffrin or Maze would secure the slalom title and the crystal globe that comes with it.
"It isn't over until the fat lady sings," Shiffrin said. "It's good that it's exciting to the end."
In Kranjska Gora, Slovenia, Ivica Kostelic of Croatia won a rain-drenched World Cup slalom while Marcel Hirscher of Austria clinched the season title in the event after his sole rival skied out in the opening run. Kostelic mastered the difficult conditions on the Podkoren course to finish in a total time of 1 minute, 45.81 seconds. Hirscher was 0.19 behind in second and fellow Austrian Mario Matt came in third, 0.34 behind Kostelic.
Park City's Ted Ligety, who won his fourth giant slalom title Saturday, finished 2.80 seconds off the lead in 18th.
In Heerenveen, Netherlands, Olympic champion Lee Sang-hwa of South Korea won the women's 500 meters at the speedskating World Cup to take the season discipline title. Lee won in 37.77 seconds at the Thialf oval, beating Wang Beixing of China by one-hundredth of a second.
Bart Swings, the Belgian former inline skater who has been one of the surprises of the speedskating season, won the men's 1,500.