Alpine skiing-American Ligety wins third gold in Schladming

Fri Feb 15, 2013 10:52am EST
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By Brian Homewood

SCHLADMING, Austria (Reuters) - Ted Ligety became the first male skier for 45 years and only the fifth overall to win three gold medals at the world skiing championships when he defended his title in the giant slalom on Friday.

Having already won the super-G and super combined events, a hat-trick was always on the cards for the American in his favorite event, although he had to survive a couple of slips on the second run before winning by 0.81 seconds.

Ligety, who has not failed to complete a giant slalom race for four years and totally dominates the event, led by one-and-a-half seconds after the first run, although his time on the second was only sixth best.

Austrian favorite Marcel Hirscher, who leads the season's overall standings on the World Cup circuit which he won last year, was second after overcoming a back injury to produce a storming second run which brought the home crowd to its feet.

Italy's Manfred Moelgg was third.

"It may have looked easy but I can say I had to fight hard in both runs," Ligety, combined gold medalist at the 2006 Olympics, told reporters at the finishing line.

"The course was incredibly bumpy... it was a struggle from top to bottom."

The 28-year-old said that his previous wins were bonuses but his priority had been to win another gold in his favorite event.   Continued...

First placed Ted Ligety of the U.S. celebrates on the podium during the flower ceremony after the men's Giant Slalom race at the World Alpine Skiing Championships in Schladming February 15, 2013. REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger