Quantcast
Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
(KRASNAYA POLYANA, RUSSIA - JANUARY 19: Ted Ligety, of Park City, celebrates with an American flag after winning the Men's Giant Slalom at Rosa Khutor Alpine Center during the 2014 Sochi Olympics Wednesday February 19, 2014. LIgety won the gold medal with a cumulative time of 2:45.29. (Photo by Chris Detrick/The Salt Lake Tribune) )
Olympics: Park City’s Ted Ligety dominates for giant slalom gold

Alpine skiing » Ligety becomes first American man to win two golds in the event

By Michael C. Lewis

| The Salt Lake Tribune

First Published Feb 19 2014 06:18 am • Last Updated Feb 19 2014 09:47 pm

Krasnaya Polyana, Russia • Ted Ligety did not just win the giant slalom at the Sochi Olympics.

He owned it.

At a glance

Golden Ted

Park City’s Ted Ligety has a tremendous resume:

Two Olympic gold medals, in combined at 2006 Turin Games and giant slalom at 2014 Sochi Games.

Four giant slalom World Cup titles, in 2008, 2010, 2011 and 2013.

Four world championships, in the giant slalom in 2011 and the giant slalom, super-G and super-combined in 2013.

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

Dominated it.

Yanked it away from everybody else, stamped his name across the front and hung it out his living room window.

In his last real chance to medal here, the greatest giant slalom skier of his generation faced down all the pressure that came with his sparkling resume — two-time world champion in the event, four-time World Cup champion, three-time Olympian — and coolly used his unique style and a "flawless" first run, in the words of coach Sasha Rearick, to carve out a signature victory in his signature event on Wednesday.

"There’s no question who’s the best GS skier right now," teammate Bode Miller said.

You think?

The 29-year-old Park City native won by 0.48 seconds, a big margin in ski racing that wasn’t four times as large only because Ligety skied his second run more conservatively, with a massive lead and a course that featured several dangerous spots that could have taken him out.

His performance delivered his first Olympic medal since winning a surprise gold in the combined at the 2006 Turin Games — he’s the first American to win an Olympic giant slalom — and made up for a disappointing performance at the 2010 Vancouver Games, where he failed to win a medal.

"It was a huge relief," he said. "I’ve been wanting to win this medal my whole life. Even moreso … the last few years.


story continues below
story continues below

"All season long, everybody talks about the Olympics, the Olympics, the Olympics," he added. "At a certain point, I was just like, ‘Let’s do it already. Let’s get this thing over with so we can stop talking about the pressure and everything with it.’ So it’s awesome to be able to come here and be able to compete and finally do it and get the monkey off the back, I guess."

France’s Steve Missillier and Alexis Pinturault claimed silver and bronze — Miller finished 20th in the last Olympic race of his illustrious career — but that was a battle unto itself.

Ligety is so strong in giant slalom that the race for gold was over almost before it began.

Top rival Marcel Hirscher of Austria had given himself "no chance" to win if Ligety skied perfectly, and he was out of the picture as soon as Ligety took his brilliant first run down a course he had skied many times, by virtue of a U.S. Ski Team partnership with the Russians.

Using his unmatched ability to carve smoother curves and maintain his speed by staying lower and turning wider around the gates, Ligety finished his first run 0.93 seconds faster than journeyman Ondrej Bank of the Czech Republic, who later faded to fifth.

Fellow American Tim Jitloff said it was all over, right there.

"It just reminded me of too many races where I’ve been like, ‘OK, he’s got a big lead and he’s going to do what he usually does,’ which is ski just solid and clean and he’ll come down and win by a large amount — which is what he did," Jitloff said.

"It reminds me of when [tennis star Roger Federer] was so dominant there for about four years," he added. "Everyone’s like, ‘What do you do? How do you beat him?’ I don’t know."

Indeed, the second run felt more like a coronation than a competition.

Rival after rival came down the hill, unable to come close to challenging Ligety and then trying to explain what makes him so good. Ligety has won 20 World Cup races in giant slalom, as well as four of the past six World Cup titles and the past two world championships.

"Last four or five years," Austria’s Benjamin Raich pondered, "unbelievable."

Next Page >


Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment


About Reader Comments


Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Videos
Jobs
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Login to the Electronic Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.