Ligety chasing gold eight years after first success

Wed Jan 22, 2014 12:57pm EST
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By Philip O'Connor

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - American alpine skier Ted Ligety's form curve looks to be peaking at just the right time for Sochi, eight years after he won his first gold medal.

The 29-year-old is one of the early favorites for gold in the giant slalom and victory in a World Cup super-combined event at Switzerland in mid-January puts him in contention there too.

He won the combined event at the Turin Olympics in 2006 and his recent success in an event that combines speed and technique, suggests he will be a contender in several disciplines at the Olympics.

"This is definitely a big victory for me," he told reporters. "It's a nice confidence boost, and a step in the right direction for getting ready for Sochi."

Ligety heads to the Olympics on the back of an outstanding 2013, where he swept virtually all before him, winning three gold medals at the world championships.

"It's so ridiculous. It has been such an amazing year," he said. "I never would have expected it. And in a way it's kind of a bummer as I will never be able to do that again."

In recent seasons, Ligety has added speed to his technical mastery, increasing his chances of making to the podium in Sochi where he will compete in slalom, giant slalom, Super-G and Super-Combined.

His success is not just limited to the slopes either. Unlike most of his competitors, for whom equipment suppliers queue up with lucrative endorsements, Ligety includes himself among his sponsors.   Continued...

Olympic alpine skier Ted Ligety poses for a portrait during the 2013 U.S. Olympic Team Media Summit in Park City, Utah in this file photo from September 30, 2013. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson/Files