Feb 14, 2013, 1:45 PM EST
With two gold medals already in his pocket, Ted Ligety is the star of the 2013 Alpine World Ski Championships. And he hasn’t even skied the giant slalom yet; his best event.
If the 28-year old Utah native manages to notch a win in that event Friday, he’ll become only the fifth man to win three gold medals in a single world championships or Olympic Games, joining legends Jean-Claude Killy of France (the last man to do so in 1968), Emile Allais of France, Toni Sailer of Austria, and Stein Eriksen of Norway.
Heady company indeed, but even before Ligety lit up the worlds with his flawless skiing, he’d been dominating World Cup giant slaloms all season, winning four out of five races.
Even more impressive than this near perfect record is the manner in which he’s won. Back in October at the opening round of the World Cup in Sölden, Austria, Ligety bested the field by nearly three seconds, the biggest margin of victory in over 30 years. Subsequent wins have been similarly impressive.
The key has been a critical equipment change. New for the 2012-13 season, the FIS mandated that all giant slalom skis be longer and straighter, effectively pushing ski technology back to the 1980s. As a result, giant slalom racers are no longer able to charge straight at gates and jam on their edges to make quick line adjustments.
That’s fine by Ligety. Despite being one of the most vocal objectors to the change, the giant slalom specialist stood the most to gain. As one of the most gifted and technically sound skiers on the circuit, Ligety has always skied a cleaner, rounder line than his competitors, preferring to arc complete, edge-to-edge turns down an entire race course, instead of muscling his way around gates and drifting through turns.
So while other skiers have struggled to adjust to the new equipment, scrubbing speed every few gates in order to get back on line, Ligety has just kept on trucking, generating speed from turn-to-turn the entire way down the hill.
His one challenger could be current overall World Cup leader Marcel Hirscher, the only man to beat Ligety in giant slalom this season. The 23-year old Austrian, winner of four giant slaloms last season, as well as the discipline title, is finally adapting to the new equipment and would have beat Ligety in Adelboden, Switzerland last month had it not been for a crash right before the finish line. With host nation Austria uncharacteristically starved for medals, Hirscher will be hungry to dethrone “Mr. G.S.” in front of a home crowd.
But Ligety has momentum on his side. His gold medals in the super-G and combined came as complete surprises (he’d previously never won a super-G and hadn’t won a combined race since 2006), meaning that despite being the defending giant slalom World Champion, he’ll go into Friday’s race without any pressure.
Unless, of course, he starts thinking about records. Should he stay calm and win Friday’s giant slalom, however, Ligety will be propelled into the pantheon of all-time greats.
Dec 9, 2013, 12:04 PM EST
The International Olympic Committee is set to send a letter to national Olympic committees reminding athletes of Rule 50 of the Olympic Charter, which prohibits any “demonstration or political, religious or racial propaganda” during the Games. “We will give the background of the Rule 50, explaining the interpretation of the Rule 50 to make the…
Dec 9, 2013, 11:23 AM EST
The U.S. could win its first medal at the Sochi Olympics in the new figure skating team event, but the competition for gold will be tight if qualification is any indication. The International Skating Union published its list of the 10 qualified nations into the event Tuesday. The U.S. had the third highest qualification score,…
Dec 9, 2013, 10:35 AM EST
David Remnick, a Pulitzer Prize winner and editor of The New Yorker, will contribute to NBC’s coverage of the Sochi Olympic Opening Ceremony and offer commentary for NBC News. Remnick, 55, is the former Moscow Bureau Chief for The Washington Post and won his Pulitzer for his book, “Lenin’s Tomb: The Last Days of the Soviet Empire.” “I…
Dec 8, 2013, 3:39 PM EST
Ted Ligety dominated as usual. Bode Miller looked like the Miller of old. The Americans went one-two in a World Cup giant slalom in Beaver Creek, Colo., on Sunday. It marked the first time the U.S. put two men on a World Cup podium since Jan. 17, 2009. The world champion Ligety won in a two-run time of 2…
Dec 8, 2013, 1:52 PM EST
Lindsey Vonn improved for the second straight day in her first races in 10 months. The Olympic downhill champion placed fifth in a World Cup super-G in Lake Louise, Alberta, on Sunday. Vonn skied the course in 1 minute, 23.71 seconds. Winner Lara Gut of Switzerland was .85 of a second faster. Vonn, in her first races since blowing…
Dec 8, 2013, 12:51 PM EST
American Heather Richardson and her fiance both won races on the final day of the World Cup speed skating stop in Berlin on Sunday. Richardson, the world sprint champion, won the 1000m in 1 minute, 14.51 seconds, .91 better than U.S. teammate Brittany Bowe. Russian Olga Fatkulina was third. Berlin marked the final World Cup before the Olympics, meaning it’s…
Dec 8, 2013, 12:15 PM EST
Erin Hamlin finished fifth in a World Cup luge race to secure her third Olympic berth on Saturday night. Hamlin, 27, of Remsen, N.Y., is the second USA Luger to clinch a spot in Sochi, joining now two-time Olympian Chris Mazdzer. Hamlin is now a three-time Olympian. The 2009 world champion finished 12th in Torino and 16th…
Dec 8, 2013, 12:08 PM EST
The 2014 U.S. Olympic Team is expected to be its largest in Winter Games history with more than 200 athletes. This list of athletes nominated to the 2014 U.S. Olympic Team will be updated as national governing bodies announce their teams: Biathlon Lowell Bailey — @lowellcbailey Tim Burke — @tb_burke Susan Dunklee — @susandunklee Curling Erika…
Dec 8, 2013, 8:57 AM EST
One of Jesse Owens‘ four 1936 Berlin Olympics gold medals sold for the highest price ever for a piece of Olympic memorabilia on Sunday morning. The medal sold for $1,466,574, according to its listing on SCP Auctions. There were 30 bids in the auction that began Nov. 20. The bidding price was at $370,000 with about…
Dec 7, 2013, 4:28 PM EST
Steve Holcomb is four for four this season. The Olympic champion drove a four-man bobsled to victory in his hometown of Park City, Utah, on Saturday. Holcomb, with Curt Tomasevicz, Steve Langton and Chris Fogt, won with a two-run time of 1 minute, 34.76 seconds. Germany’s Max Arndt was second, .35 of a second back. Russian Aleksander Kasyanov was third. Holcomb, Arndt and…
Dec 7, 2013, 3:58 PM EST
Lindsey Vonn made major strides in less than 24 hours between her first two races since major knee surgery. The Olympic downhill champion finished 11th in a downhill at Lake Louise, Alberta, on Saturday afternoon. On Friday, Vonn was 40th in another Lake Louise downhill, her first race since blowing out her right knee at the…
Dec 7, 2013, 3:38 PM EST
If Ted Ligety is going to be a multiple-medal threat in Sochi, he must produce strong results outside the giant slalom. He took a step in Beaver Creek, Colo., on Saturday, with his third top-five super-G finish over the last four World Cup seasons. Ligety navigated the Birds of Prey course in 1 minute, 22.21 seconds,…
Dec 7, 2013, 3:15 PM EST
U.S. Bobsled has been stellar to start the season, but it’s never been stronger than Saturday. The U.S. swept the medals in Park City, Utah. Elana Meyers and Aja Evans won in a two-run time of 1 minute, 38.61 seconds, followed by Jamie Greubel and Lolo Jones and Jazmine Fenlator and Lauryn Williams, who tied for silver in 1:39.24. It’s the first time since Feb.…
Dec 7, 2013, 1:01 PM EST
Aleksander Kaptarenko trained for the Olympic torch relay by carrying a frozen salmon. Kaptarenko, a 101-year-old table tennis player, became the oldest Olympic relay torchbearer on Saturday, according to R-Sport. He was born in St. Petersburg, Russia, in 1912 and carried an Olympic torch in the Siberian city of Novosibirsk for 200 meters. Kaptarenko has…
Dec 7, 2013, 12:36 PM EST
India’s Olympic Association may no longer be recognized by the International Olympic Committee if it fails to comply with ”rules of good governance” by Tuesday, IOC president Thomas Bach told The Associated Press. India, currently under an IOC suspension, has “corruption-tainted officials” in its Olympic Association’s ranks, the AP reported. “It’s about the principles,” Bach told the AP.…
Dec 7, 2013, 12:36 PM EST
Two-time U.S. snowboardcross Olympian Nate Holland is in jeopardy of missing the Sochi Games after breaking a collarbone in training, the International Ski Federation (FIS) told NBCOlympics.com. Holland, 35, suffered the injury before the first World Cup snowboardcross event in Montafon, Austria, this weekend. Holland was considered a Sochi medal contender. He was 14th at the 2006…
Dec 7, 2013, 11:45 AM EST
Olympic and world champion Yuna Kim fell on her opening jump but still posted a total score beaten by only one other skater during the Grand Prix season at a minor event in Zagreb, Croatia, on Saturday. The South Korean won the Golden Spin with 204.49 points, her first competition this season following a foot injury. Japan’s Mao…
Dec 7, 2013, 10:40 AM EST
U.S. speed skaters bagged two more medals on the penultimate day of the final World Cup before the Sochi Olympics on Saturday. Shani Davis and Heather Richardson won bronze in the 1000m and 500m, respectively. The Berlin World Cup concludes with a men’s 500m and 5000m and a women’s 1000m and team pursuit Sunday. It’s the final opportunity…
Dec 7, 2013, 9:45 AM EST
USA Luge put a men’s singles slider on a World Cup podium for the first time in nearly seven years on Friday night. 2010 Olympian Chris Mazdzer placed a career-best second in Whistler, B.C., the fourth of nine World Cup stops before the Sochi Olympics in February. Mazdzer was fourth after the first of two runs, behind…
Dec 7, 2013, 6:55 AM EST
Skating in a Grand Prix at home perhaps for the last time, Mao Asada claimed gold Saturday at the Grand Prix Final in Fukuoka, Japan, the 23-year-old rising above an error-prone finish in the ladies’ free skate. Fifteen-year-old Russian Yulia Lipnitskaya skated cleanly to jump her way from fourth to second, claiming the silver medal.…
- Ted Ligety, Bode Miller go 1-2 in Beaver Creek giant slalom (video) 1
- Lindsey Vonn says she’s ready for Sochi after best comeback result (video) 1
- Jesse Owens’ gold medal goes for $1.4 million in auction 1
- Lindsey Vonn stronger in second comeback race (video) 3
- U.S. sweeps women’s bobsled in Park City (video) 3
- Russian women kissing after relay victory at World Championships causes stir (54)
- IOC drops wrestling from 2020 Olympics (45)
- Zola Budd, 47, dominates college runners in 5K (29)
- Vladimir Putin tells critics of Russia at World University Games to ‘try some Viagra’ (18)
- IOC convinced there will be no discrimination at Sochi Olympics (16)