PYEONGCHANG, South Korea (Reuters) - American Ted Ligety said on Tuesday he would take part in the Alpine skiing team event at the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics if Mikaela Shiffrin did - a dream team that would hugely enhance the appeal of the event on its debut appearance at the Games.
Ligety, a double Olympic champion who has fought through a succession of injuries and last month scored his first top-three World Cup finish for over two years, said he would take part in the giant slalom, combined and super-G, “and then we’ll see about other ones”.
Asked about the new 16-team knockout event, featuring two men and two women from each country in a parallel giant slalom format, he said: “It depends on if somebody else is going to be involved in that, which really is a determining factor in our chances to get a medal. So I will if she is.”
“She” is Shiffrin, the reigning overall and slalom World Cup champion who has expanded her repertoire from the technical to the speed events and is also fifth in the downhill rankings this season.
A U.S. team spokeswoman said a decision on whether Shiffrin would go in the team event would depend on her ‘energy levels’ after her other events.
U.S. head men’s coach Sasha Rearick said the Americans had been practising the team event and were taking it seriously.
“I hate to lose at anything, so if there’s a competition out there, we want to win,” he told reporters. “We’re going to put forward the best team we can put forward.”
Reporting by Mark Trevelyan; editing by Sudipto Ganguly