Ted Ligety Wins Gold In Giant Slalom, Makes Olympic History
Ted Ligety brought home USA’s first gold medal in Men’s Giant Slalom on Wednesday, making Olympic history with a combined time of 2:45.29.
Ted Ligety Takes Gold In Giant Slalom
Ligety, 29, was a favorite in this year’s competition, though he failed to medal in any of his four events during the Vancouver Olympics. He last won gold at Torino in 2006 and is the second American skier to win two gold medals. He is also the first man from any nation to win both a gold medal in giant slalom and in combined. The event was also historic for France, whose skiers Steve Misillier and Alexis Pinturault won silver and bronze, respectively, giving the country its first two medals in alpine during these Sochi Olympics.
Ligety came out strong in his first run, crossing the finish line with a time of 1:21.08, giving him almost a whole one second lead over runner up Ondrej Bank, who was 0.93 seconds behind Ligety after the first run. Bank, of the Czech Republic, finished fifth after the second run.
Ligety, who has perfected his own unique skiing technique in the giant slalom, said that the most challenging aspect of the Sochi course was having to find the right technique.
“The hill is not so difficult skiing-wise. It’s difficult tactically. I was trying to be smart over those big tactical terrain changes and then push as hard as I could in the sections where I could take some risks and I knew I could push hard,” Ligety explained after the race.
Ligety also says he made sure his big lead did not affect his second run, wanting to go just as hard. His second run was 0.48 seconds behind his first, but still, Ligety came out on top.
“You can’t let up in ski racing. Ski racing is the kind of thing where you can blow leads really quickly. And nothing is truly safe,” he said.
Ligety’s triumph is still sinking in according to the skier. He posted a photo on Instagram celebrating his win and was at a loss at how to describe his day, writing, “Not sure how to caption today.”
“I think tonight when I get the medal actually in the medal ceremony, hear the national anthem and have it around my neck, it will sink in a little more. Right now it doesn’t feel like a normal race, but it’s hard to really explain how it feels. It’s a huge relief, but it doesn’t feel like an Olympic win until I get that medal,” Ligety admitted in an interview with Matt Lauer.
Bode Miller Congratulates Ted Ligety
US Ski Team teammate and sometimes rival, Bode Miller, tweeted his congratulations to Ligety, calling his gold win “well deserved.”
Amazing skiing @tedligety clutch performance. Well deserved gold medal.
— Bode Miller (@MillerBode) February 19, 2014
Miller, who was forced to pull out of Saturday’s slalom event due to injury, also praised Ligety’s strategic skiing and speed.
“Other guys carry speed for a couple turns. They struggle a little bit. He just carries it smooth, top to bottom. He consistently puts time on guys the whole way down. He’s not doing a miracle in one section. He just pulls time on top, pulls more time in the middle, pulls more time on the bottom. There’s no question who is the best GS skier right now,” Miller said.
– Olivia Truffaut-Wong
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