Ted Ligety’s bid for a fourth gold medal at the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships were dashed Sunday when he crashed out of the first run of the men’s slalom in Schladming, Austria.
It meant the 28-year-old Park City ski racer will have to settle for the three golds he won over the previous two weeks, the first time a man had won three since France’s Jean-Claude Killy in 1968.
Still, Ligety and teenager Mikaela Shiffrin led an impressive medal haul for the U.S. Ski Team, which won four golds and a bronze — its most since winning six medals (but only two gold) at the 2005 championships in Bormio, Italy.
The 17-year-old Shiffrin won the women’s slalom Saturday, while teammate Julia Mancuso took bronze in the super-G last week. That took at least a little sting out of the knee injury suffered by two-time world champ and reigning Olympic champion Lindsey Vonn, less than a year away from the 2014 Sochi Olympics in Russia.
Ligety bounced sloppily around one gate during his slalom run, landing awkwardly as one of his skis broke off, keeping him from finishing and earning a second run.
Although he had dominated the men’s side of the championships, Ligety wasn’t expected to be a top medal contender in the slalom. He has never won a slalom race on the World Cup circuit and has finished the race only once in five tries at the world championships, finishing 19th in 2011 in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany.
In Schladming, Ligety won the super-combined, the super-G and the giant slalom.
Overall World Cup champion Marcel Hirscher won the slalom title Sunday.
Hirscher held onto his first-run lead to finish in a combined time of 1 minute, 51.03 seconds. Felix Neureuther of Germany was 0.41 seconds back in second. Hirscher and Neureuther are also 1-2 in the World Cup discipline standings.
Two-time former champion Mario Matt of Austria took third, 0.65 behind.