Ted Ligety will undergo back surgery and miss the rest of the Alpine skiing season, the latest in a series of health setbacks for the double Olympic champion, according to his social media.
Ligety, who won the combined at Torino 2006 and the giant slalom at Sochi 2014, said he had “stabbing (nerve) pain all the way down my leg” since the season-opening race in Soelden, Austria, on Oct. 23.
“That has no (sic) allowed me to ski at the level that I expect of myself,” was posted on Ligety’s social media Monday. “I have seen many doctors and therapists, undergone an array of treatments and therapies to no effect. Unfortunately surgery (microdiscectomy) means my season over … I will be back strong and fast again.”
Ligety also ended last season prematurely, after tearing his right ACL on Jan. 27. He also suffered three herniated disks in his back and tore a hip labrum in 2015.
Of his last seven giant slaloms dating to last season, Ligety has failed to finish four times and placed fourth, fifth and 11th.
Ligety’s World Cup giant slalom podium drought is his longest since he notched the first top-three finish of his career in 2006. He racked up 40 podiums in a decade.
Ligety, 32, also owns the last three world giant slalom titles, plus five World Cup season titles in the discipline, in addition to his Sochi gold.
If healthy, Ligety would have tried next month to become the first male Alpine skier to take gold at four straight world championships.
With Ligety’s absence, the U.S. will have zero past men’s Olympic or world gold medalists at a world championships for the first time since 2001.
Worlds are in St. Moritz, Switzerland, from Feb. 6-19.Follow @nzaccardi