Hoefl-Riesch 4th in slalom in last Olympic race

Published on NewsOK Modified: February 21, 2014 at 3:04 pm •  Published: February 21, 2014
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KRASNAYA POLYANA, Russia (AP) — This was almost the sort of final Olympic run Maria Hoefl-Riesch envisioned in the start gate.

Almost.

The German standout finished fourth in the slalom on Friday night in what she vowed was her last Olympic race, a mistake in the middle of the course costing her another podium spot in her storied career.

Second after the opening run, Hoefl-Riesch hit a bump and lost speed in a race won by American teenager Mikaela Shiffrin.

"At the Olympics, you don't get a medal for fourth place," said Hoefl-Riesch, who was 1.19 seconds behind Shiffrin's two-run winning time.

If Hoefl-Riesch stays true to her word and that was indeed the last time she will race on an Olympic course, she exits with quite a medal haul: Four spanning two Winter Games. That includes three golds and one silver. Even more, she finished outside the top 10 only once in nine races — when she was 13th in the downhill last week.

No chance — not even a sliver — that she might be back in South Korea in 2018?

"No chance at all," the 29-year-old Hoefl-Riesch said, laughing.

She certainly turned in quite an entertaining show in Sochi, capturing gold in the super-combined and silver in the super-G. It could've possibly been more, too, had she not pulled out of the giant slalom because of a cold.

Oh, and made that costly mistake in the slalom. She instantly knew, too.

After crossing the finish line Friday, Hoefl-Riesch glanced at the scoreboard and then down at the snow, figuring that Shiffrin would surely beat her time and bump her from the podium, which was exactly what happened.