Ted Ligety added to an incredible, if not surprising, Alpine Ski World Championships Friday in Schladming, Austria by taking gold in the one race he was actually expected to win: the giant slalom.
He becomes the first man since Jean-Claude Killy of France in 1968 to win three world titles in one year.
“I wasn’t easy. I took some risks but it was very difficult,” Ligety said after the race. “It was pretty dark and bumpy. I had several mistakes but I could afford them being 1.30 ahead.”
Ligety held that 1.30-second lead after clocking a blazing 1:13.14 in his first run, then rode a slightly more conservative 1:15.78 his second time down the hill to earn the victory. Austria’s Marcel Hirscher took silver.
“Ted is the man,” downhill world champ Askel Lund Svindal said in between runs. “He’s the best in the world… It’s not possible to beat Ted, I think.”
Ligety, 28, surprised everyone last week by winning the super-G and combined world titles despite having exactly zero victories in either discipline since 2006. The super-G win was the first of his career.
The giant slalom specialist, known as “Ted the Shred,” is only the fifth man to win three golds at a single world championship. He can match Killy’s feat of four world titles when he rides in the slalom on Sunday.
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The first four U.S. Olympic archers for Rio are known, while Khatuna Lorig will learn in three weeks if she makes her sixth Olympic team.
A full men’s team of 2012 Olympic team silver medalists Brady Ellison and Jake Kaminski and first-time Olympian Zach Garrett earned their spots at the U.S. Olympic Trials that ended Monday.
Mackenzie Brown clinched her first Olympic berth by winning the women’s trials Monday.
The U.S. can send two more women to Rio if it qualifies a full team at a World Cup event in Turkey in three weeks. Those two women would be Hye Youn Park and Lorig.
Lorig, 42, is best known for teaching archery to Jennifer Lawrence before “The Hunger Games.” Lorig also competed in the 1992 Olympics for the Unified Team, the 1996 and 2000 Games for Georgia and the 2008 and 2012 Olympics for the U.S.
Lorig earned team bronze at Barcelona 1992 and finished fifth and fourth individually at the 2008 and 2012 Olympics.
The U.S. Olympic team alternates are Daniel McLaughlin and La Nola Pritchard.
MORE: Full list of athletes qualified for U.S. Olympic team
Co-Olympic super-G bronze medalist Jan Hudec was granted a request by Alpine Canada to represent the Czech Republic next season after being left off Canada’s national team.
Hudec, 34, wasn’t eligible for Canada’s national team after racing once in 2015-16 due to the latest of his many knee surgeries, according to Alpine Canada.
“It is important to know that we continued to work with Jan after the team selection was announced, and let him know that we were more then willing to find accommodation that would enable him to return to the team,” Alpine Canada said in a press release. “However, at this stage of Jan’s career, he is making a decision that can best meet his desire to fulfill and lead a different way of life, that reaches beyond ski racing.”
The International Ski Federation must still grant Hudec’s request. Hudec was born in the Czech Republic.
At the Sochi Olympics, Hudec shared bronze with Bode Miller in the super-G. He is also the 2007 World Championships downhill silver medalist and a two-time winner of World Cup races.
The 2016-17 Alpine skiing World Cup season is expected to begin in Soelden, Austria, in late October.
MORE: Bode Miller says ‘good likelihood’ of comeback