Can’t blame Ted Ligety for eagerly wanting to race the Alpine skiing season opener after overcoming two years’ worth of injuries to return to the World Cup circuit.
Ligety did not agree with canceling the giant slalom in Soelden, Austria, more than three hours before the scheduled start partially, based on a foreboding forecast. He aired frustration in a series of tweets.
The International Ski Federation (FIS) called off the race before 7 a.m. local time, citing 75 mph wind gusts and a forecast for worsening conditions later in the day. The first run was scheduled for 10 a.m. FIS later said that by midday the entire area had to be evacuated due to a storm.
“Seems odd to have a race cancelled at 645am in Austria when their biggest star is temporarily out,” Ligety tweeted at the FIS Alpine account early in the morning and in a separate tweet to his 88,000 followers.
Austria’s biggest star is six-time reigning World Cup overall champion Marcel Hirscher, who is sidelined indefinitely due to a broken left ankle suffered Aug. 17.
Before Ligety’s series of injuries, he battled Hirscher for giant slalom titles. The last two seasons, Hirscher has been largely unrivaled in the discipline.
Soelden, the traditional season opener, is never rescheduled, so the cancellation means Hirscher could return before missing any giant slaloms. The next GS is Dec. 3.
The World Cup giant slalom season title — which Ligety has won five times and Hirscher four — goes to the man who accumulates the most points from the nine scheduled World Cup races through March. With the Soelden cancellation, there will be eight.
Ligety just missed a big chance to get a leg up on Hirscher.
“It may be horrible weather up there, but when the president of the OSV [Austrian ski federation] is telling people it will be cancelled days in advance it smells fishy,” Ligety’s Twitter account continued. “I wanted the opportunity to try to race. + they don’t make this race up. Already less GS’s then SL&DH [slaloms and downhills scheduled this season]. A forecast is only a forecast not 100.”
Hirscher laughed at Ligety’s comment and agreed with the decision to cancel the race, according to Austrian media.
“A race wouldn’t have been possible today,” the Austrian federation posted on Facebook about an hour after Ligety’s initial tweet.
Austrian ski officials also reportedly dismissed Ligety’s tweets.
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