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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David Ortiz called his good friend Aly Raisman on Thursday night. Raisman had one request for their scheduled meeting for Friday.
“I told him that he had to hold my medals while I threw out the first pitch,” Raisman said on NESN. “I told him he better not forget, but he remembered.”
Ortiz made it a highlight, wearing Raisman’s three Rio medals and plodding as if they were weighing him down before the Royals-Red Sox game at Fenway Park on Friday night.
It was reminiscent of Bryce Harper serving as a medal rack for Katie Ledecky on Wednesday night.
Ortiz and Raisman have come to know each other in the last four years, after Raisman’s first Olympic appearance in London. Raisman, a native of Needham, Massachusetts, has attended a gala and golf tournament benefitting Ortiz’s children’s charity.
She previously threw a first pitch at Fenway following the 2012 London Games. It didn’t faze Raisman that her pitch Friday bounced before reaching home plate.
“My pitch was horrible, but that’s OK,” Raisman said on NESN. “I’m good at gymnastics, so it doesn’t matter.”
Raisman will rejoin her Final Five teammates for a USA Gymnastics tour of 36 cities that begins Sept. 15. Whether she returns to competitive gymnastics is unknown.
MORE: Gymnastics royalty reacts to Biles and Raisman’s Olympic heroics
Claressa Shields may just be the most dominant female athlete on the planet. The Flint, Mich., native is now a two-time Olympic boxing champion with a 77-1 record and a four-year unbeaten streak.
Actor Mark Wahlberg, who played boxer Micky Ward in the 2010 film “The Fighter,” took notice.
He taped a video that Shields watched before a celebration in her hometown Thursday, according to the Flint Journal.
“You are the true definition of a champion,” Wahlberg said. “You continue to inspire so many people, not only in Flint, but all over the world. I’m so proud of you. Your performance was amazing. God bless you. I look forward to seeing you, and I look forward to doing lots of things with you.”
Now Shields must decide whether to turn professional, which would end her Olympic career.
“Professional women’s boxing is not nowhere near on the same attention level as the Olympics are,” the 21-year-old Shields said, according to the Flint Journal. “I get way more attention than any female boxer who is professional right now with me being an amateur.
“So the goal is to go professional but still have that same attention and same mainstream. Hopefully, if they have the rule changed that the women professionals can come back and fight the Olympics, I would go professional to fight on TV and make a bunch of money but then come back and defend my two gold medals in 2020.”
MORE: Shields becomes first U.S. fighter to win back-to-back golds