GARMISCH-PARTENKIRCHEN, Germany (March 12) – Ted Ligety (Park City, UT) added some more oomph to his trophy collection Friday as he clinched the second Audi FIS World Cup giant slalom title of his career with third in the season’s final event. The victory places Ligety, a Head Skis athlete, in some pretty illustrious company as he joins Phil Mahre to become the only American men to earn two World Cup giant slalom titles.
“Having two globes is awesome,” Ligety said. “It’s cool to have those and to be the best in giant slalom over the last couple of years is nice.”
Ligety’s GS title is his second in three years, having won in 2008. Phil Mahre is the only other American man to win two, taking back-to-back titles in 1982 and ’83. Bode Miller won the GS crown in 2004.
The GS was won by Carlo Janka of Switzerland, who locked the men’s overall World Cup title with the win, followed by Davide Simoncelli of Italy in second.
Ligety had a solid first run and, after falling slightly behind at the third interval, he picked up the pace in the second run to tie for third in the giant slalom race with Austrian Philipp Schoerghofer.
“It’s always better to tie someone than be one hundredth behind, so I was happy to be on the podium,” Ligety mused.
With a somewhat narrow 43 point lead on the giant slalom standings going into Friday’s race, Ligety said things fell into place on game day for him to beat his toughest challengers for the title.
“I knew I had to have a good first run and I was pretty lucky in the sense that [Massimiliano] Blardone had a big screw up and then Marcel [Hirscher] got disqualified,” Ligety said. “That opened it up for me and I skied decently in the second run.”
While those advantages locked Ligety in the title run before his second run, the 2006 Olympic champ had no idea he had already won the globe when the time came for him to race.
“I didn’t actually know that I had won the title no matter what at that point,” Ligety said. “I would have gone harder had I known that, but I had a safe second run and was still pretty excited to get on the podium.”
With the title Ligety added the 2010 discipline title to the first he won in 2008. He also capped the year with three consecutive World Cup podiums in GS to bookend a season that began with second in Soelden, Austria last October. Despite his success in GS, Ligety was looking for more with his slalom, but has one more chance in slalom Saturday to end on a high note.
“I don’t feel like the year has been great otherwise, so it’s definitely nice to walk away with the globe,” Ligety said. “It’s cool to be able to ski at this level for multiple years.”
Wrapping up the race Ligety noted the future he hopes to have on the hill when 2011 World Championships are held here.
“The hill is actually pretty good. It’s difficult on the top and then the bottom has a super long flat,” he said. “It’s a confidence booster to do well on the hill that you know you’re going to have World Championships here.”
Ligety and teammate Jimmy Cochran (Keene, NH) close out individual competition Saturday during World Cup Finals in Germany during the slalom event.
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