Ted Ligety

Ted Ligety rallies to win Beaver Creek giant slalom (video)

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Ted Ligety won his first World Cup race this season, coming from behind to take a giant slalom in Beaver Creek, Colo., on Sunday.

The Olympic giant slalom champion, fourth after the first run, clocked a two-run time of 2 minutes, 34.07 seconds. He was .25 behind Austrian Benjamin Raich after the morning run and ended up winning by .18 over France’s Alexis Pinturault following the afternoon run. Austrian Marcel Hirscher was third.

“That first run was definitely difficult, didn’t feel like I got in the groove as much as I have in the past,” Ligety said. “Second run, I was confident I could ski the way I wanted to.”

Ligety, who won a Beaver Creek giant slalom for a fifth straight year, was skiing with four screws in his left hand after breaking his wrist in training Nov. 23.

He trained for one week without a ski pole and skipped last week’s World Cup stop in Lake Louise, Alberta.

“I don’t really think about my hand when I’m skiing,” said Ligety, who added he’s not taking any pain medication. “It doesn’t feel great, but it doesn’t really hurt that much.”

Ligety was off to a slow start this season before the injury, finishing 10th in the season-opening giant slalom in Soelden, Austria, on Oct. 26. Ligety had won in Soelden the previous three seasons. That 10th was Ligety’s best finish in four races this season before Sunday.

“After the first race, not doing as well as I wanted to, I was a little bit frustrated,” Ligety said. “That’s how it goes sometimes in ski racing.”

Ligety now has 24 World Cup wins, with 23 of them in giant slalom. He’s tied for the second-most World Cup giant slalom wins ever. Leader Ingemar Stenmark, the retired Swede, won twice as many.

Ligety said thinking of catching Stenmark is “a pipe dream.”

“Stenmark is so far away,” Ligety said. “He’s such a legend in the sport. I think what he’s done is pretty unattainable.”

The men’s Alpine skiing World Cup continues in Are, Sweden, with a giant slalom Friday and a slalom next Sunday.

Lindsey Vonn second in Lake Louise super-G

Despite blade trouble, Nathan Chen leads men at Skate America

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Nathan Chen leads the men’s field at Skate America after tallying 104.12 points, a new personal best, on Friday night.

During the six-minute warm-up before the final group of skaters, Chen could be seen conferring with his coach, Rafael Arutunian, about his blade. He explained on the Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA broadcast that during the warm-up, Arutunian manipulated the blade to fix the edge. They plan on playing with it again so it’s better for Saturday’s free skate.

“There’s a lot of points that I could have gotten last year and I’m making sure I take care of them this year,” Chen said of his personal best, according to U.S. Figure Skating. “The score is still not that close to some of the top men currently, but that’s something that I know is attainable and it’s something I’m going to work toward.”

Arutunian’s other pupil in the men’s field, Adam Rippon, is in second place behind Chen with a personal best of his own – 89.04 points. Sergei Voronov of Russia sits in third place after the short with 87.51 points.

The third American in the field, Ross Miner, popped a triple Axel and didn’t receive any credit for the element. He tallied 71.59 points and sits in eighth place heading into the free.

The free skate will determine which skaters earn a berth to the Grand Prix Final in Japan in two weeks. Chen, despite being a favorite for the Skate America title, can finish anywhere among the top four for a berth to the Final. Voronov can also finish in the top four to make it to the Final. Rippon needs to finish anywhere on the podium.

Plus, with reigning Olympic gold medalist Yuzuru Hanyu and his training partner Javier Fernandez (a two-time world champion himself) out of the Grand Prix Final, the podium there is wide open. Patrick Chan, a three-time world champion and the Sochi silver medalist, won’t be at the Grand Prix Final either.

MORE: Skate America TV Schedule

Earlier Friday, in the pairs field, Canadians Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford scored 75.37 to lead the field after the short program.

China’s Yu Xiaoyu and Zhang Hao followed for second with 73.67 points. Aliona Savchenko and Bruno Massot, who represent Germany, earned 72.55 points for third place after the short program. All three teams have a chance to qualify for the exclusive Grand Prix Final should the podium stand is after Saturday’s free skate. Even with a shakeup among the top three, it is likely that they will all qualify.

The top American team was married couple Alexa Scimeca Knierim and Chris Knierim, who scored 64.27 and are fourth after the short. Haven Denney and Brandon Frazier tallied 63.04 (sixth) and Deanna Stellato and Nathan Bartholomay are eighth with 57.18 points.

MORE: Bruno Massot earns German citizenship

Massot gets German citizenship, path cleared for Pyeongchang

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LAKE PLACID, N.Y. (AP) — Bruno Massot learned Thursday he has passed his German citizenship test, clearing the way for him and partner Aliona Savchenko to compete at the Olympics in Pyeongchang.

Massot was born in Caen, France, and qualified for the 2014 Sochi Games on the French team, but he was held out of the Olympics because partner Daria Popova did not gain French citizenship in time.

He has since partnered with Savchenko, a Sochi participant, and been working to become a German citizen. This was his third time taking the German citizenship test, and the final time he would be able to qualify for citizenship in time for the Olympics.

“It’s really different,” Massot told The Associated Press, “because I don’t have this now anymore in my head, this question like, `I will be blocked again, or not?”‘

Massot’s naturalization ceremony will take place next Wednesday. Massot and Savchenko are in Lake Placid competing at Skate America this week.

MORE: Skate America preview, TV schedule