Ligety wins gold medal in giant slalom
Vail-Beaver Creek, Colorado – The technical male skiers came into play on Friday to battle it out in the giant slalom under sunny skies and ideal conditions. In fifth place after the opening run on a turny and technical course with a lot of tempo changes, which is not his favourite type of set, defending champion Ted Ligety fought back in the second run. In front of thousands of cheering fans, Ligety skied aggressively to take the lead and then watched the other contenders fail to match his mark. He posted a combined time of 2:34.16 to edge out Marcel Hirscher at the top of the timesheets. The Austrian finished 0.45 seconds off the pace, while France's Alexis Pinturault took the last podium spot, 0.88 seconds out.
Ted Ligety became the first man to win the giant slalom world title three times following his wins in 2011 and 2013.
“This one was a tough one for sure,” he said. “This is probably one of the most emotional victories, from the standpoint that it's been a tough kind of year. To be able to win in front of a home crowd and have a bunch of friend and family here is super meaningful. And to pull it off with that kind of pressure is always awesome.”
After the first run Hirscher had a slim lead over the rest of the favourites, with Felix Neureuther, Alexis Pinturault and Ted Ligety within a quarter of a second adrift.
“Two tenth is not that much," explained Ligety."I knew I made some mistakes and that's why I was in the position I was in. I knew I had the speed in order to climb back up there, but it's never easy for sure. I just talked to myself that if I ease up just a tiny bit I'm gooing hit myself for a long time for it, so I just took that extra risk."
Ligety collected his second medal of the World Championships, having already earned bronze in the alpine combined, which was dominated by Marcel Hirscher.
Marcel Hirscher went into that race as the super favourite, having won four of the five giant slalom World Cup races this season, including the last three. The only race he failed to win was actually in Beaver Creek, where he took third behind Ted Ligety and Alexis Pinturault.
"I have to say I gave my best," said Hirscher. "I had a pretty awesome run, but Ted's run was definitely outstanding. I don't think I could have skied even one hundredth of a second faster, so to get that silver medal makes me super happy."
Sick in bed two days prior to the race, Alexis Pinturault found the necessary energy to win the second medal for the French team after the bronze earned in the super-G race by Adrien Théaux.
"Ma focus in the last past two days was just about recovering as fast as possible to be able to race today," he explained at the press conference. "After the first run I thought that things were fine again, that I finally had all the power back I needed. The feeling was good. But in the second run, it was much more difficult for me. I was really tired. So this podium is a great achievement for me."
Tomorrow Saturday, the ladies will be in action for the slalom with the first run scheduled for 10:15 and the second run starting at 14:15 (MST).
For complete results click here