Mom and dad are as surprized as their son
The first inkling that her son might have won an Olympic medal came before she even saw the scoreboard.
"Suddenly there were three cameras in our faces," said Cyndi Sharp, a local realtor and mother of the United States Ski Team’s newest gold medallist, Ted Ligety.
"We were saying, ‘what’s happening here? Where’s Bode? We didn’t know he (Bode Miller) had skied out&," Sharp said when reached in Italy shortly after the official results were posted.
Sharp and her husband, Bill Ligety, were still trying to absorb the turn of events that put their son, an Olympic first-timer, in first place in Tuesday’s combined slalom event
"We were hugging, crying & it was amazing," said father Bill Ligety, adding that he had just pulled up 33 messages of congratulations from his Treo.
Ligety and Sharp were with a small group of hometown supporters including Elizabeth Biaett, Gary Dickey and their son’s childhood friend, Trevor Olch, and on their way to celebrate at the Ski Team’s Olympic house in Italy.
"Ted has been working toward this since he was 10 years old, since he was a Devo on the Park City Ski Team," said Bill Ligety.
Racing in the Olympics has been one of his son’s longtime ambitions, but winning a gold medal was not something Ted or the family ever expected, he said.
"After his downhill run, we thought he had a chance but I didn’t have a gold medal in my mind," Bill Ligety said.
With the media spotlight on Olympic veterans Bode Miller and Daron Rahlves, Bill Ligety admits that, on Tuesday, his son was "as shocked as we are."
But according to the proud father, Ted was probably aiming for gold back in his Devo days.
"To give you an example, most kids when they turn 16 want a driver’s license. Ted didn’t get his until he was 17 because he was always too busy training," Bill Ligety said.
Wednesday, when the International Olympic Committee drapes a gold medal around his son’s neck, Bill Ligety will see all those years of hard work pay off.
Cyndi Sharp also said a medal was not their focus. "If you wish for or expect something to happen and it doesn’t then you are disappointed."
Instead, Sharp says she and Bill just tried to support their son’s efforts regardless of the outcome. "You have to let your kid follow his dreams and support him. You can’t force him," she said.
On hearing about the celebrations in their honor already erupting in Park City, Sharp and Bill Ligety were taken aback.
"We can’t believe what’s happening. We just want to thank everybody for helping. It sounds corny but it’s true, what Hillary Clinton said, ‘It takes a village to raise a kid&’ it’s a combination of everybody," said Sharp.
Mom and Dad can heave a sigh of relief now that the downhill portions of Ted’s competition are done. "We are not big fans of the downhill," Bill Ligety admitted, regarding the potential dangers of Turin’s challenging course. "But we figure he is prepared and he has a cool head."
But they can’t completely relax, yet. Ted Ligety is scheduled to compete in the Olympic slalom event Feb. 25 and, this time, perhaps they will allow themselves to yell, "Go for the gold!"
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Park City at the start of 2021 is preparing for the return of numerous special events, something that could help reignite Park City’s tourism-heavy economy and re-create some of the energy that was lacking in 2020.