Maiden super-G win gives Ligety world title

Wed Feb 6, 2013 8:20am EST
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By Manuele Lang

SCHLADMING, Austria (Reuters) - American skier Ted Ligety picked the right occasion to win the first super-G of his career, becoming the discipline's world champion on Wednesday.

Ligety, the best giant slalom specialist on the Alpine ski circuit and ready to defend his world crown in the shorter discipline next week, made the best of a course suiting his technical skills to win in one minute 23.96 seconds.

It was the American's third major title after the combined Olympic gold in Sestriere in 2006 and the giant slalom world gold in Garmisch-Partenkirchen two years ago.

"It's wonderful. I can't believe it. It was a tough race, slippery with tough turns but I kept fighting. I think my love for free skiing must have helped me today in those difficult conditions," said Ligety, whose only World Cup podium in a super-G was second place in Val d'Isere three years ago.

"Last year I was not so lucky here, losing the giant slalom globe in the last race, but this is for sure a sweet moment. It means a lot to me and to the U.S. team after the hard crash of Lindsey Vonn yesterday," he added.

Olympic champion Vonn broke her shin and tore knee ligaments in a tumble during the women's super-G on Tuesday and will miss the rest of the season.

The technical nature of the men's course on the Planai piste also favored unheralded Frenchman Gauthier De Tessieres, who took silver despite entering the competition as a reserve.

The 31-year-old from Clermont-Ferrand, also a giant slalom specialist, came on to the start list after team mate Johan Clarey was forced out with a back injury two days before the start of the championships.   Continued...

Gold medallist Ted Ligety of the U.S. reacts on the podium after the men's Super G race at the World Alpine Skiing Championships in Schladming February 6, 2013. REUTERS/Ruben Sprich