Ted Ligety wants Olympic gold to cap giant slalom dominance

KRASNAYA POLYANA, Russia — Ted Ligety's Allyson Felix moment is here. Felix, who races on spikes in the summer instead of skis in the winter, won three consecutive world championships and two consecutive Olympic silver medals in the 200-meter sprint and was considered one of the greatest track and field stars of her generation.

But she never believed she had fully lived up to her potential as a sprinter until she celebrated a gold medal in the Olympic 200 meters at the 2012 London Games.

Ligety's winter tale is similar, although it has significant differences.

Most prominently, Ligety, 29, of Park City, Utah, has already won an individual Olympic gold medal — a surprise victory in the alpine combined in the 2006 Olympics in Torino, when he was just 21 years old.

But, like Felix, he has triumphed over and over again and won just about everything one can win in his best event — giant slalom — with no Olympic title in GS to show for it.

In 2006, when nobody knew how great Ligety would become in the giant slalom, he failed to finish the first run.

In 2010 in Vancouver, when he was on his way to his second World Cup giant slalom season title and considered the best in the world in the event, he finished ninth.

Since then, he has won two more World Cup season titles and two world championships in giant slalom, establishing himself without doubt as the greatest GS skier of his generation.

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Wednesday, in the Olympic men's giant slalom, two runs down a steep trail in the Russian Caucasus Mountains, he has a chance to put a tidy bow on all his accomplishments.

He enters the race as the consensus favorite, despite his troubles in Sochi in two earlier races — the super-combined, in which he skied cautiously in his slalom run and finished 12th, and the super-G, in which he skied aggressively and impressively until a major mistake cost him a lot of time and he finished 14th.

Ligety is the reigning world champion in both super-combined and super-G, as well as GS, but said he won't carry those disappointing results with him to the start hut Wednesday.

"Every event is totally different," Ligety said. "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."


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