Ted Ligety of the United States won gold in the Alpine skiing giant slalom on Day 12 of the Winter Olympics in Sochi.
The official Sochi 2014 account commented on the American's performance:
|Rank||Country||Name||Run 1: Time||Run 1: Rank||Run 2: Time||Run 2: Rank||Total|
|5||Czech Republic||Ondrej Bank||1:22.01||2||1:24.28||15||2:46.29|
Ligety obliterated the opposition with an impeccable first run that virtually assured him of the win, barring any major hiccups, and he put in a solid second performance to keep ahead of the chasing pack.
As a result, he becomes the first non-European winner of the event and completes his collection of titles in grand slalom, with Olympic gold previously being the only prize he hadn't won.
Before the race, Ligety had been quoted by USA Today as saying he wanted to put his disappointments in the 2006 and 2010 finals behind him:
Every event is totally different. It's not like those (results) matter that much. I'm just going to push hard on my race on Wednesday. I know where my skiing can be. This season, I've had a lot of ups and downs in other races and results but still been able to put together really fast runs in giant slalom.
Speaking afterwards, BBC Sport reported that Ligety attributed his win to the good first run he made:
Ted Ligety, who won giant slalom gold:"To pull through is awesome. I feel really lucky I had such a good first run." pic.twitter.com/fiHKEzrEMp— BBC Sport (@BBCSport) February 19, 2014
A number of skiers battled for second place following the first run, including Austrian Olympic downhill champion Matthias Mayer, veteran Italian Davide Simoncelli and Ondrej Bank of the Czech Republic.
But a strong comeback from French duo Steve Missillier and Alexis Pinturault secured silver and bronze, while Marcel Hirscher of Austria came in fourth.
Defending champion Carlo Janka of Switzerland came in a distant 13th, while the rest of the United States team struggled to replicate Ligety's form. Tim Jitloff came in 15th, and Jared Goldberg and Bode Miller finished in 19th and 20th, respectively.
ESPN reporter Jeremy Schaap claimed that Ligety must be feeling on top of the world:
Now that he's won, this is how Ted Ligety must really feel now: pic.twitter.com/eg6WpIoCVq— Jeremy Schaap (@JeremySchaap) February 19, 2014
After failing to finish the first run in 2006 and a ninth-placed finish in Vancouver in 2010, Ligety showed brilliant character to keep going and finally win Olympic gold.
Although he will be able to defend his title in the 2018 Games, it is unlikely Ligety, who is now 29, will be able to repeat his victory because of his age and the physical demands of the sport.
However, that doesn't detract from the performance he put in to claim gold, the crowning moment of his illustrious career.