- Associated Press - Wednesday, February 19, 2014

KRASNAYA POLYANA, Russia (AP) - Flip the switch. After eight daytime races, the Sochi Olympics’ last two events are after hours and under lights.

After a day off Thursday, the women’s slalom is Friday night, followed by men’s slalom a day later.

Here are five things to know about Alpine skiing entering the final two events:


SHIFFRIN VS. SCHILD: American teenager Mikaela Shiffrin has won three slalom races this season and her role model from Austria, Marlies Schild, has won two.

So it’s shaping up as a battle between Shiffrin and Schild under the Friday night lights.

And it could be decided by the condition of the snow.

“If it’s softer snow like this I think Shiffrin has the advantage. Because Marlies likes skiing on hard ice,” said Peter Schroecksnadel, the president of the Austrian ski federation.

But the steepness of the slalom course could favor Schild, who took silver behind Maria Hoefl-Riesch four years ago in Vancouver and holds the World Cup record with 35 slalom wins.

“Yeah, she likes steep but she also likes hard,” Schroecksnadel said.

LIGHTS ON: The slalom events will be the first night races on the Alpine slopes.

The first runs will start in waning daylight at 4:45 p.m. (7:45 a.m. EST, 1245 GMT) and the second legs will begin at 8:15 p.m. (11:15 a.m. EST, 1615 GMT), after sundown.

In night races last month, 19-year-old Henrik Kristoffersen of Norway won in Schladming, Austria, for his first career victory; and Felix Neureuther of Germany won in Bormio, Italy. Marcel Hirscher was second in both of those races.

Also, Shiffrin won a night race in Flachau, Austria, last month.

MARCEL’S MOOD: Overall World Cup leader Marcel Hirscher was not in a good mood after finishing fourth in Wednesday’s giant slalom - the second consecutive Olympics that he has finished one spot off the podium in GS.

But having won both gold at the world championships and the season-long World Cup title in the discipline last year, Hirscher will be the undisputed favorite for Saturday night’s slalom.

NEUREUTHER’S NECK: A week after injuring his neck in a car crash, Neureuther placed eighth in Wednesday’s giant slalom. But slalom is his best event.

“It was so important for me to race today, that my body can handle all the impacts and everything,” Neureuther said. “I really look forward now to Saturday.”

GS winner Ted Ligety noted that Neureuther is always competitive when he is banged up.

“In a couple of days you will see him up at this press conference for the slalom for sure,” Ligety said during his gold-medal news conference.

WEIBRECHT’S WAY: American slalom specialist Resi Stiegler is taking inspiration from teammate Andrew Weibrecht’s silver medal in super-G.

Like Weibrecht, Stiegler has battled injuries in recent seasons. But having finished 11th and 12th in the combined and slalom, respectively, at the 2006 Turin Games, plus sixth in the slalom at the 2005 world championships, the 29-year-old Stiegler knows she has the skills to compete.

“That’s what’s so cool about the Olympics,” Stiegler said. “That’s the part that a lot of athletes need to remember - you’ve got here and you’ve worked really hard and you obviously are one of the best so you have the possibility to do anything.”

Stiegler’s father, Josef “Pepi” Stiegler, won three Olympic medals for Austria, including gold in slalom at the 1964 Innsbruck Games.


AP Sports Writer Graham Dunbar contributed.


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

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