Ted Ligety golden yet again
Ted Ligety was at it again on Friday in Schladming, Austria.
After winning gold medals in the super-G and super-combined events at the FIS Alpine Ski World Championships, Ligety participated in his best World Cup event, the giant slalom, on Feb. 15.
And once again he ended atop the podium, making history with his third gold medal.
Not since 1968 has a man won three or more medals at a single World Championships, with France’s Jean-Claude Killy (who won four golds) the last to accomplish the feat.
Ligety, a Park City native and an alumnus of the Park City Ski Team, became the first non-European (and first American) to win three golds at one World Championships. He also tied Bode Miller’s American record of four career individual world championship gold medals and tied the American record of five overall world championship medals, held by Miller, Lindsey Vonn and Julia Mancuso.
The U.S. Ski Team’s alpine technical coach, Mike Day, said Ligety has exceeded expectations for the event.
"He’s handling the success amazingly well," he said. "He’s probably struggling to take it all in at the moment."
He added that Ligety’s success in the giant slalom this year may have made that win even more special.
"GS was probably the toughest one because that’s the one everyone expects him to win," he said. "But once he won the first gold (in super-G), that started the momentum. He put forth an amazing effort this week."
But Ligety handled the pressure, skiing a great technical race Friday. Day said Ligety was aggressive on the top of the hill and through the middle, before taking a more conservative approach at the end of his first run.
"He’s that good in GS right now that he can be pretty calculated in where he goes hard," he said.
Park City Ski Team director Jesse Hunt, who worked with Ligety while they were both with the U.S. Ski Team and Ligety was a junior skier, said he’s not surprised at Ligety’s success.
"He always was an amazing competitor," he said. "That was his strength."
He added that Ligety’s competitiveness showed, especially in the super-G and super-combined events.
"He’s got the GS figured out," he said. "But more than anything, he’s a very cool, calm, and collected competitor."
Ligety will be back in action on Feb. 24 at a World Cup event in Garmisch, Germany.
Day said Ligety’s focus will return to reclaiming the giant slalom World Cup title, something he lost last year after winning in 2008, 2010 and 2011.
"He very much wants that back from a year ago," Day said.
He added that Ligety should carry a lot of momentum going forward after the strong World Championships performance.
"This week is an amazingly special week for him," he said. "Any time you come in and make a historical performance, it takes pressure off for the rest of the season."
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