Ted Ligety

Ted Ligety, Bode Miller go 1-2 in Beaver Creek giant slalom (video)

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Ted Ligety dominated as usual. Bode Miller looked like the Miller of old.

The Americans went one-two in a World Cup giant slalom in Beaver Creek, Colo., on Sunday. It marked the first time the U.S. put two men on a World Cup podium since Jan. 17, 2009.

The world champion Ligety won in a two-run time of 2 minutes, 35.77 seconds. He beat Miller by a comfortable 1.32 seconds. Miller was a half-second faster than third-place Austrian Marcel Hirscher, the reigning World Cup overall champion.

“It’s cool having Bode back,” Ligety said on NBCSN. “He just showed a tremendous amount of speed, for sure. He’s so up and down in training. What he just did there was really awesome. It’s cool to finally have another American, right up there pushing me in training and racing.”

Ligety won his fourth straight World Cup giant slalom dating to last season. The last man to win four straight giant slaloms was Italian Alberto Tomba in 1991.

The last man to win five straight was Swede Ingemar Stenmark, who won all 10 giant slaloms in 1978-79 and is the all time World Cup wins leader with 86.

Ligety had plenty of margin for error in the second run after taking a 1.1-second lead over Miller in the morning run.

“Second run was tough,” Ligety said on NBCSN. “It got pretty dark again, pretty bumpy, too. It’s nice to have a 1.2 cushion, so you don’t have to take too many risks. I’m pretty psyched.”

Miller tried to put pressure on Ligety by posting the fastest second run in the 30-man field, but Ligety, the final skier, was .22 faster in a conservative run through tough conditions on a snowy afternoon.

“Ted is the most clutch skier there’s been,” Miller said on NBCSN. “When he has a first-run lead, he loses it less than anybody. So I wanted to make sure I put him in the position of knowing that I had come down and stuck a run. He lived up to it again today.”

Ligety, 29, has now won 19 career World Cup races, all giant slaloms. In February, he became the first man in 45 years to win three gold medals at a single World Championships.

Miller, 36, posted his first top 10 of the season in his sixth race. The five-time Olympic medalist missed all of last season after undergoing knee surgery.

Miller’s last World Cup podium was Feb. 3, 2012. His last World Cup giant slalom podium was March 17, 2007.

Miller won an Olympic silver medal in the giant slalom in 2002, but he’s become more of a speed-event skier over the last decade. The U.S. went one-two in a World Cup giant slalom for the first time in eight years.

Back then, it was Miller and Daron Rahlves. Like Ligety, Miller is excited to have competition from a countryman as Sochi nears.

“It’s the best,” Miller said on NBCSN. “Me and Daron had that. Ted’s been so strong now, for a bunch of years, in GS. I just haven’t had it where it needed to be, injury wise or intensity wise or conditioning wise.

“It’s been a long time coming for us. It was a big challenge for me to come back.”

The Alpine skiing World Cup continues in Val d’Isere, France, next weekend. They will race a giant slalom Saturday and a slalom Sunday.

Beaver Creek Giant Slalom
1. Ted Ligety (USA) 2:35.77
2. Bode Miller (USA) 2:37.09
3. Marcel Hirscher (AUT) 2:37.59
4. Mathieu Faivre (FRA) 2:38.61
5. Alexis Pinturault (FRA) 2:38.71
6. Carlo Janka (SUI) 2:38.78
7. Felix Neureuther (GER) 2:38.82
8. Leif Kristian Haugen (NOR) 2:38.83
9. Stefan Luitz (GER) 2:38.98
10. Roberto Nani (ITA) 2:39.00
33. Tim Jitloff (USA)
36. Brennan Rubie (USA)
44. Warner Nickerson (USA)
51. Robby Kelley (USA)

Video: Lindsey Vonn ‘ready for Sochi’ after best comeback result

Pyeongchang Olympic organizers optimistic with 500 days to go

Security personnel stands by a logo of the 2018 PyeongChang Olympic Winter Games before an event to mark the start of the 500-day countdown in Seoul, South Korea, Tuesday, Sept. 27, 2016. With 500 days until the Olympic cauldron is ignited in Pyeongchang, organizers of the 2018 Winter Games say 90 percent of construction on new venues is complete and the focus of preparations is on test events. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)
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SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — Marking the 500-day countdown to the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, organizers said Tuesday that 90 percent of construction of new venues is complete and the focus is now on preparing for test events.

Pyeongchang’s organizing committee said construction is on schedule for a series of sports competitions scheduled from November to April that will serve as rehearsals for the Olympics, which begin Feb. 9, 2018.

The six new competition venues for the games are now 88 percent complete and a new high-speed rail line – designed to link the country’s main gateway of Incheon airport with Pyeongchang in less than two hours – will be completed next June and start operations in January 2018, organizers said.

The preparations are undergoing a transition from the “planning phase to operational readiness,” the organizing committee said in a statement.

“Asia has immeasurable potential to become the frontier of winter sports. Pyeongchang has been dedicated to promote winter sports and attract investments throughout Asia,” the committee said.

Noting that the 2018 Games will be the first of three consecutive Olympics in Asia, the committee said Pyeongchang will be an “opportunity to establish even closer links among the next host countries and build bridges through sports.”

Tokyo will host the 2020 Summer Olympics, while Beijing will stage the 2022 Winter Games.

Pyeongchang organizers have overcome delays, local conflicts over venue constructions and difficulties attracting domestic sponsorships in past years. Optimism over preparations has increased after the successful hosting of the first round of test events at Alpine venues earlier this year.

Despite a slow start, organizers say more than 80 percent of the domestic sponsorship target of $850 million has been met and that they expect to reach 90 percent of the target by the end of the year.

A program of cultural events featuring pop singers and local sports stars was held in Seoul on Tuesday evening to mark the start of the countdown.

MORE: 500 Days to Pyeongchang: Five athletes to watch

500 Days to Pyeongchang: Five athletes to watch

PARK CITY, UT - FEBRUARY 06:  Chloe Kim celebrates a first place finish in the ladies' FIS Snowboard World Cup at the 2016 U.S Snowboarding Park City Grand Prix on February 6, 2016 in Park City, Utah.  (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
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Today marks 500 days until the Opening Ceremony of 2018 Winter Olympics.

Below are five U.S. athletes to get to know before February 9, 2018:

Ryan Bailey (Bobsled): Bailey, who finished fifth as a sprinter in the London Olympic 100m, is attempting to compete at the 2018 Olympics as a bobsledder. On Sept. 21, just weeks into his bobsled career, he won the men’s push athlete national title. The last male Summer Olympian to make a U.S. Olympic bobsled team was Willie Davenport in 1980.

MORE: Converted sprinter Ryan Bailey wins bobsled national title

Brittany Bowe and Heather Richardson (Speed Skating): Bowe and Richardson have been trading world records in recent years. Last November, Bowe broke her own women’s 1000m world record, only to have Richardson lower it just three minutes later. A week later, Bowe broke the world record in the event once again.

MORE: Dan Jansen explains recent flurry of world records

Meryl Davis and Charlie White (Figure Skating): The future is uncertain for Davis and White, who became the first U.S. couple to win an Olympic ice dance title in Sochi. They have not competed since the 2014 Olympics, but they have also not announced their retirement.

MORE: Where Meryl Davis, Charlie White stand on possible comeback

Chloe Kim (Snowboarding): Kim mathematically qualified for the 2014 U.S. Olympic team in halfpipe, but at 13, she was not old enough to be eligible to compete in Sochi. A U.S. woman has won gold in the event at three of the past four Olympics, but Kaitlyn Farrington, who won halfpipe gold in Sochi, retired after being diagnosed with a spinal condition.

MORE: Kaitlyn Farrington retires from snowboarding

Mikaela Shiffrin (Alpine Skiing): Shiffrin became the youngest Olympic slalom champion at the 2014 Games, when she was 18. Four years later, she is hoping to become the first Alpine skier — man or woman — to repeat as slalom gold medalist. She also could become the first U.S. women’s Alpine skier to win gold medals in multiple Olympics.