Team USA Alpine ski racer Ted Ligety won gold in the men's giant slalom on Wednesday, securing his second career Olympic gold medal and becoming the first American male Alpine skier to earn two golds.
Ligety finished in a time of 2 minutes, 45.29 seconds—0.48 seconds ahead of silver-medal-winning Frenchman Steve Missillier. Missillier's compatriot, Alexis Pinturault would take home bronze.
|Rank||Country||Name||Run 1 Time||Run 2 Time||Total Time|
|1||USA||Ted Ligety||1:21.08||1:24.21 (+1.02)||2:45.29|
|2||FRA||Steve Missillier||1:22.58 (+1.50)||1:23.19||2:45.77|
|3||FRA||Alexis Pinturault||1:22.44 (+1.36)||1:23.49 (+0.30)||2:45.93|
|4||AUT||Marcel Hirscher||1:22.47 (+1.39)||1:23.76 (+0.57)||2:46.23|
|5||CZE||Ondrej Bank||1:22.01 (+0.93)||1:24.28 (+1.09)||2:46.29|
|6||AUT||Matthias Mayer||1:22.41 (+1.33)||1:23.93 (+0.74)||2:46.34|
|7||AUT||Benjamin Raich||1:22.67 (+1.59)||1:23.68 (+0.49)||2:46.35|
|8||GER||Felix Neureuther||1:22.51 (+1.43)||1:24.08 (+0.89)||2:46.59|
|9||FRA||Thomas Fanara||1:22.41 (+1.33)||1:24.32 (+1.13)||2:46.73|
|10||NOR||Henrik Kristoffersen||1:22.71 (+1.63)||1:24.08 (+0.89)||2:46.79|
The jaw-dropping performance earned the 29-year-old well-deserved shoutouts from fellow Olympic Alpine skiers Mikaela Shiffrin, Julia Mancuso and Bode Miller:
Amazing skiing @tedligety clutch performance. Well deserved gold medal.— Bode Miller (@MillerBode) February 19, 2014
For Ligety, the triumph in giant slalom has to be extremely satisfying given his shortcomings at the 2010 Games and his previous struggles in Sochi—including a 12th-place finish in the super combined.
"I could have gone way, way harder, I respected the course too much," Ligety said after that event, per the Los Angeles Times' Chris Dufresne. "To put it simply, I choked, for sure."
There would definitely be no choking for Ligety in the giant slalom on Wednesday as he made a statement on his very first run, turning in a time of 1:21.08 to grab a crucial 1.50-second lead. The dominant start allowed Ligety some key breathing room in his second run and put the pressure squarely on the rest of the field's collective shoulders.
Ligety's landmark victory in the giant slalom adds to his impressive legacy, which includes an Olympic gold medal in the men's combined in 2006, but it also puts him in a new class of American Olympic greats. He is only the second American to win two gold medals in Alpine skiing, as Andrea Mead-Lawrence won the slalom and giant slalom back in 1952. Winning gold at two different Olympic Games is quite an accomplishment, and to do it in a sport as demanding as Alpine skiing is even more remarkable.
To put Ligety's achievement in proper perspective, keep in mind that American skiing greats Phil Mahre, Bill Johnson, Picabo Street, Lindsey Vonn, Mancuso and Miller have each won just one gold medal.
Now, the question becomes: Will Ligety become the first American Alpine skier to win three golds?
It's a question that will have to wait to be answered, but one that will only give Ligety more confidence and belief moving forward.
It remains to be seen whether Ligety will be back to defend his gold in 2018, but regardless, his history-making achievement in Sochi won't go unnoticed.
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