Insider knowledge gives me an edge, says Ligety

Tue Feb 11, 2014 9:06am EST
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By Martyn Herman

ROSA KHUTOR, Russia (Reuters) - Triple world champion Ted Ligety was late joining the Sochi Olympic party but armed with a little local knowledge and some Russian goodwill he looks set to make up for lost time.

The U.S. ski team have struck an unlikely relationship with their Russian counterparts, so Ligety, despite only venturing to the Rose Khutor piste for the first time on Tuesday, is already one step ahead of his rivals.

So relaxed is the American about the challenges ahead as he goes for gold in four events in nine days, starting with Friday's super combined, that the 29-year-old took two days off in Zurich before flying to the Caucasus Mountains on Monday.

"We've actually had a partnership with the Russian team over the past couple of years," he told a news conference after trying out the downhill course in his first training run.

"They trained with us in New Zealand and Colorado and actually we had an opportunity to train here last year after the world championships. We had five days here.

"We trained slalom and giant slalom mostly and a day of super-G. It was warm and the snow was re-frozen so something similar to what we are going to have here.

"We've never had a technical (slalom or giant slalom) event here so it takes the anxiety away. I don't have to worry about how the hill feels, how tiring it is. I know the ins and outs so I guess that's gonna make it easier mentally."


Ted Ligety of the U.S. prepares to start his downhill run of the men's alpine skiing super combined training session at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics at the Rosa Khutor Alpine Center February 11, 2014. REUTERS/Ruben Sprich