With stitched-up chin, Schleper 16th in slalom

BY foxsports • February 27, 2010

Sarah Schleper insisted that a U.S. Ski Team doctor sew five stitches into her bloodied chin - right there, right then.

It didn't matter that Schleper, a 31-year-old mother from Vail, Colo., was waiting in the lodge near the starting gate for the second run of Friday's Olympic slalom.

``He was like, 'I don't want to do it here.' I'm like, 'Just do it. It will take my mind off the race. It will be fun,''' Schleper recounted. ``He said, 'This will go down in the books as something I've never done before.'''

She competed in the final women's Alpine race of the Vancouver Games with her chin bandaged with strips of white tape after she cut herself by smacking against a gate during prerace training in the morning.

``I smelled my flesh burning. That was kind of weird. I was like, 'What's that smell?' Because I felt the pain, and then all of a sudden a pool of blood was under my boots,'' Schleper said.

``My jacket was covered in blood, and I turned my bib around. It was a nice distraction up there. I kind of tried to stop the bleeding and get refocused for my run.''

Schleper was hurt and then had to race while wearing a helmet without a protective bar - similar to a facesmask used by football players - that's often attached for the slalom, which has more gates than other Alpine events.

She wanted to have a bar but accidentally left hers in Europe before the Olympics and said she ``could not find one last night.''

Schleper was in ninth place after the first slalom run, but an error in her second run left her 16th at day's end. Her total time of 1 minute, 45.88 seconds was 2.99 seconds slower than champion Maria Riesch of Germany.

``I'm never skiing slalom without a bar again,'' Schleper vowed.

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AP Sports Writer Pat Graham contributed to this report.


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