Ted Ligety fails to medal in Olympic giant slalom four years after winning gold
Ligety's likely final Olympic appearance ends in defeat while Austrian Marcel Hirscher wins gold
American skier Ted Ligety came into the 2018 Winter Olympics hoping he'd be able to bounce back from major injuries in recent years and retain his gold medal status from 2014. Ligety, who is accepted as the best giant slalom skier in American history, was a model of technical dominance in that event back at Sochi. But that was most certainly not the case Sunday in South Korea.
The 33-year-old Ligety finished his pair of GS runs with a combined time of 2 minutes, 21.25 seconds. He was nowhere close to the podium, finishing a disappointing 15th overall. Ligety was was 3.21 seconds behind gold medal winner Marcel Hirscher, who finished in 2:18.04.
American Ryan Cochran-Siegle, who had a blazing 1:27.18 second-run time, finished 11th, managing to bump from 21st after a slower first run than Ligety.
Hirscher, who hails from Austria, is in the midst of making his case to be one of the greatest male alpine skiers ... ever. He won alpinecombined gold on Monday and is the reigning 2017 slalom and giant slalom world champion. Hirscher has won six of the past seven World Cup championships in slalom. One more and he will have the world record.
Hirscher's not done in South Korea. He'll compete in slalom on Wednesday, and yes, be the favorite. If Hirscher wins gold in that event, he will be the fourth person to ever win three golds in alpine competitions at the same Olympiad.
Taking silver in GS on Sunday was Norway's Henrik Kristoffersen (+1.27 seconds behind Hirscher), who made up a big deficit after run one. Alexis Pinturault of France took home the bronze (+1.31).
As for Ligety, he told NBC after his second run that he was unlikely to ski in the slalom later this week because of his long-shot chances of overcoming a stacked field to medal. For Ligety, he skied well in the lead-up to the Olympics after overcoming a knee injury, in addition to back surgery in January of 2017. But it was obvious that he didn't have that 2014 form that brought him to the top of the sport.
Regardless of a letdown in South Korea, Ligety's legacy remains intact in American skiing circles. He took gold in the combined in 2006 in Turin, and for an eight-year run was the most consistent male skier the United States put on the mountain.
Taking a broad look at the United States in alpine skiing at these Games, the only American to medal in an alpine event so far is Mikaela Shiffrin, who won gold in women's giant slalom on Thursday.
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