Friday, March 18, 2011
Ted Ligety sweeps season of GS titles
LENZERHEIDE, Switzerland -- Ted Ligety of the United States won the World Cup giant slalom title on Friday, adding to the world championships gold medal he earned last month.
Ligety completed a season sweep of titles in his specialist event when the final World Cup GS race was canceled by poor weather and snow conditions.
"Having accomplished both of these things is pretty awesome," Ligety told The Associated Press. "I definitely wanted to get the medal. And you're always wanting to go for the season's title because it's a better indicator of your skiing."
Ligety won his third World Cup crystal globe trophy in four years, beating Phil Mahre's U.S. men's record of two giant slalom titles in 1982 and '83.
"Winning titles is a big deal. These are the things you are remembered by and a measure of your consistency," Ligety said.
His eight career GS race wins in the World Cup trails teammate Bode Miller, the 2004 discipline champion, who has nine.
Ligety led the standings all season long after reeling off a three-win streak in the first completed races at Beaver Creek, Colo.; Val d'Isere, France; and Alta Badia, Italy. He was also third, trailing by just 0.12 seconds, at Kranjska Gora, Slovenia in the last of six races.
Ligety dominated in many races with a clean, aggressive style of skiing. In Alta Badia, he knocked Olympic champion Carlo Janka out of the leader's box with a run that had the Swiss racer visibly astonished at the American's time.
"I was definitely happy with the way I won it this year," Ligety said. "Last year, I didn't feel like I skied all that amazingly. This time I skied the way I wanted to."
He arrived at World Cup finals week 77 points ahead of Norway's Aksel Lund Svindal, needing to finish 11th or better to seal the title.
Race officials called it off at 7 a.m. local time after struggling with persistent rain and warm temperatures.
Ligety was sleeping when he received news of his title from U.S. men's ski team head coach Sasha Rearick.
"I woke up to a text from Sasha -- then rolled over and went back to sleep. The coaches then asked me to come down for a little champagne," he said.
World Cup organizers were still trying to run Friday's scheduled women's slalom that could be decisive in the race for the overall title.
Three-time defending champion Lindsey Vonn of the U.S. holds a slender 27-point lead on Germany's Maria Riesch with just the slalom and Saturday's giant slalom left to race.
The slalom was set for two runs through the same gate setting to avoid churning the fragile race surface by setting a different course for the second leg.