Oct 27, 2013, 8:38 AM EST
Make it three in a row for Ted Ligety.
The world’s best giant slalom skier won the season-opening World Cup in Soelden, Austria, for the third straight year on Sunday, beating the field by .79 of a second over two combined runs.
“Pretty psyched to win this, for sure,” Ligety said. “It wasn’t easy in that second run, super dark on the pitch. Really bumpy, but whenever you win it’s a good day.”
American Bode Miller placed 19th in his first World Cup race since February 2012 coming back from injury.
The start was moved down due to heavy winds, so the fastest runs were about one minute rather than around 1:20.
Ligety, 29, took a commanding .90 lead after the first run earlier Sunday morning and clocked a total of 1:59.50 to win over France’s Alexis Pinturault and Austria’s Marcel Hirscher, the other top two giant slalom racers from last season. Ligety pumped his fist and skied into a suspended camera after crossing the finish line.
“There’s always so much anxiety coming into (the season) because you never really know where you are,” Ligety said. “I didn’t feel like this summer my skiing was really where I wanted to be.”
He prevailed by a blowout margin of 2.75 seconds last year and joined Austrian legend Hermann Maier as the only men to win Soelden three times (though Maier’s weren’t consecutive).
Ligety, who won his 18th career World Cup race (all giant slaloms), is set up for a busy season as he eyes the World Cup overall title.
He finished third in the overall standings last year behind Hirscher and Norway’s Aksel Lund Svindal. Svindal tied for fourth at Soelden on Sunday.
Hirscher is the reigning World Cup slalom champion, and Svindal racks up points in speed events.
But nobody was better than Ligety at the World Championships in February, when he became the first man in 45 years to win three gold medals.
The World Cup continues with a slalom in Levi, Finland, on Nov. 17, where a rather unusual prize will be awarded.
Soelden Giant Slalom
1. Ted Ligety (USA) 1:59.50
2. Alexis Pinturault (FRA) 2:00.29
3. Marcel Hirscher (AUT) 2:00.52
4. Steve Missillier (FRA) 2:01.23
4. Aksel Lund Svindal (NOR) 2:01.23
6. Markus Sandell (FIN) 2:01.32
7. Thomas Fanara (FRA) 2:01.58
8. Cyprien Richard (FRA) 2:01.66
9. Mathieu Faivre (FRA) 2:01.68
10. Philipp Schoerghofer (AUT) 2:01.80
19. Bode Miller (USA) 2:02.79
20. Tim Jitloff (USA) 2:02.81
Mar 6, 2015, 1:33 PM EST
He intended his last fight to be at the Olympics, but it didn’t work out that way.
Mar 6, 2015, 10:23 AM EST
The IPC Alpine Skiing World Championships continue into next week.
Mar 5, 2015, 2:25 PM EST
U.S. mile record holder wants to make the Rio Olympic team in triathlon.
Mar 5, 2015, 2:20 PM EST
Franklin will likely need at least two Olympics to pass three U.S. women who share the Olympic medals record.
Mar 5, 2015, 12:34 PM EST
But the Olympic judo bronze medalist would welcome a fight with Cyborg under certain conditions.
Mar 4, 2015, 3:03 PM EST
Canada hasn’t been that high since 1996.
Mar 4, 2015, 2:03 PM EST
A first for the U.S. in 20 years.
Mar 4, 2015, 9:39 AM EST
But a “50-50″ shot at qualifying for the Olympics this summer.
Mar 4, 2015, 8:56 AM EST
France may have to qualify for Rio with a team led by Tony Parker.
Mar 3, 2015, 10:20 PM EST
Previously, Phelps and USA Swimming agreed he would withdraw from the World Championships team due to his DUI arrest.
Mar 3, 2015, 4:30 PM EST
The Olympic champion competes next week for the first time since July.
Mar 3, 2015, 11:07 AM EST
How do the versions for Toronto 2015 compare to previous Pan Am Games medals?
Mar 3, 2015, 10:27 AM EST
Even if baseball is re-added to the Olympics, Fukushima might not be a logical choice to host games.
Mar 2, 2015, 4:59 PM EST
Team GB’s men and women were ousted in the 2012 Olympic quarterfinals.
Mar 2, 2015, 2:28 PM EST
The Olympic judo bronze medalist is compared to a former dominant heavyweight boxer.
Mar 2, 2015, 11:47 AM EST
Walsh Jennings also had breakfast with a beach legend in Rio de Janeiro.
Mar 2, 2015, 11:11 AM EST
IOC member and former South Africa Olympic Committee president previously said the nation was readying to bid.
Mar 2, 2015, 10:21 AM EST
Bowe skated with dominance not seen since 2003.
Mar 2, 2015, 5:47 AM EST
Vonn is three away from another World Cup mark.
Mar 1, 2015, 9:44 AM EST
Austrian rival puts on a dominating performance in Garmisch.
- Sugar Ray Leonard and the Olympics 0
- Alan Webb set for first Olympic-sized triathlon test Saturday 0
- Missy Franklin’s dream to become most decorated female swimmer ever 1
- U.S. aerialists, elementary school classmates, sweep World Cup titles 0
- Michael Phelps may be reinstated for World Championships, report says 0
- David Boudia scraps springboard plan; Nick McCrory retires 0
- Kerri Walsh Jennings, April Ross confident after defeat in Brazil showdown 1
- Emotional Bode Miller medals in race that mattered most (61)
- Russian women kissing after relay victory at World Championships causes stir (60)
- IOC drops wrestling from 2020 Olympics (47)
- South Korea filing official complaint over Yuna Kim’s Olympic silver (39)
- Zola Budd, 47, dominates college runners in 5K (33)