- Associated Press - Friday, February 21, 2014

KRASNAYA POLYANA, Russia (AP) - The tears came easy for Austrian veterans Marlies Schild and Kathrin Zettel.

In what was most likely their final Olympic performances, Schild took silver and Zettel took bronze behind American teenager Mikaela Shiffrin on Friday night in the final women’s Alpine event of the Sochi Games.

Then the emotions took over.

“I was crying. I was laughing. I was doing everything,” Zettel said. “It was really the last chance to get the Olympic medal for me and it’s wonderful.”

Tears also welled up in Schild’s eyes. There didn’t seem to be a hint of regret even though she concluded her Olympic career with three silvers and one bronze - but no golds for the skier who holds the career record of 35 World Cup slalom wins.

“Of course a gold medal would have been a dream. But the dream died in the first run,” Schild said. “So I did not lose the gold medal. I won the silver medal in the second run and that’s great.”

Schild and Zettel stood sixth and seventh, respectively, after the opening run but then had the fastest two times in the second leg.

“I tried the wrong thing in the first run,” Schild said. “I tried to push and push and the snow was going away under my skis and that felt too bad. I was only skiing on my upper ski first run.

“That’s one thing I’m very proud of today, that I changed everything and that it worked out so much better the second run that I could win this silver medal.”

At 32, Schild became the oldest slalom medalist in Olympic history. Ole Kristian Furuseth of Norway was 31 when he won silver at the 1998 Nagano Games.

At her two previous Olympics, Zettel had recorded two fourth-place finishes and one fifth.

“It was totally my last chance to win,” the 27-year-old Zettel said. “Three days ago my grandmother died, so I was really sad about it and it was hard. And I got a little sick and I was tired. Everything was hard, so I never thought it can be today. So this medal means so much to me. It’s wonderful.”

The only negative note for Schild was that her younger sister, Bernadette, straddled a gate toward the end of her second run - after placing fourth in the opening leg.

“It was really hard for me to be in the finish on one side hoping to make a medal and on the other side cheering for my sister for a medal for her,” the older Schild said. “It was really bad for her today that she could not finish the second run. But I think she will have much more chances to make medals and I think she will do that in the near future.”

For Austria women’s head coach Jurgen Kriechbaum, Marlies Schild’s career is now complete.

“We think it’s her last season,” he said. “Two victories in the World Cup and now a silver medal. This is very, very great. She could retire with a very, very good feeling.”

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Follow Andrew Dampf at http://twitter.com/asdampf

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