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Schild Wins Crash-Filled Slalom

MARIBOR, Slovenia (AP by Roy Kammerer)—Austria's Marlies Schild won her third straight World Cup slalom Sunday, with Kristina Koznick fourth and Lindsey Kildow ninth in a good day for U.S. skiers.

Schild won a crash-filled race in 1 minute, 48.34 seconds for her seventh career victory and a share of the slalom standings lead with Janica Kostelic of Croatia.

``It's a good experience to win three races in a row, but it's a long time to the Olympics,'' Schild said, referring to next month's Turin Games. ``I hope to keep up my form for then.''

Kostelic, racing with a swollen hand, was 0.58 seconds behind in second while Therese Borssen of Sweden was third in 1:49.03.

Ten skiers crashed or slid out on the second run alone, a day after the soft snow was ruled too dangerous for a giant slalom.

One was Kathrin Zettel, the first-run leader who skidded out at the top of the slope. The 19-year-old Austrian _ touted by Kostelic as a future slalom force _ was aiming for her first victory.

``I'm very sorry for Kathrin, I know how she must feel,'' Schild said. ``The second run was very difficult. I was very tentative.''

Koznick matched her best result of the season with fourth in 1:48.91. Kildow finished in 1:50.76.

Kostelic and Schild have 360 points in the slalom standings, although Kostelic extended her lead over Anja Paerson in the overall standings by 732 to 585. The Swede missed a gate after a mistake at the top of the slope.[pagebreak]

] Kostelic moved up from eighth on the first run by posting the best time on the second run _ 55.86 seconds.

``At this moment, I'm not really happy with my skiing,'' she said. ``Hopefully, I'm feeling better at the Olympics. I'm tired of starting seventh or eighth, then having to attack.''

Kostelic, a three-time Olympic champion, injured her hand last week at her home race in Zagreb, losing her glove and pole early in the second run. The gates banged her bare hand all the way down the slope.

``It's OK _ it's still black from the swelling,'' she said. ``It hurt on the gates, but it's heavily bandaged.''

Kildow, the downhill standings leader, has finished in the top 15 in six of her last seven slaloms. Until an 11th-place finish last year at Maribor, she had finished or reached the second run of just two races.

``It's sweet,'' Kildow said. ``I've changed my equipment. I'm not surprised because I grew up skiing slalom. I just fell off the map for a while because of the speed races. It's always good to add another disciple you can do well at.''

Copyright © 2005 The Associated Press

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