Ted Ligety‘s not pleased with his recent skiing, but there’s an understandable reason why he’s missed the podium in three straight World Cup giant slalom races.
“I’m not in good shape,” the Olympic and World giant slalom champion said after finishing fourth in a giant slalom in Alta Badia, Italy, on Sunday. “I’m definitely smaller, weaker, than I was two months ago.”
That’s because Ligety “basically didn’t do anything” for three weeks to a month after winning the season-opening giant slalom in Soelden, Austria, on Oct. 25.
He said he couldn’t touch his knees or tuck in training due to three herniated disks in his back. Then he tore a hip labrum.
“I don’t have any pain anymore,” Ligety, who fought through it to take second in a super-G in Beaver Creek, Colo., on Dec. 5, said Sunday. “I just need to get back to being strong again.”
Ligety attributed the back problems to new skis.
“They’re difficult, and they hurt everybody’s back,” he said. “Everybody has bad backs here. It’s just the trend. So, it’s an unfortunate new reality.”
Ligety is now 210 points behind Austrian rival Marcel Hirscher in the World Cup giant slalom standings after four of a scheduled 11 races.
Hirscher, who won his third straight GS on Sunday, also took the standings title last season, helping deny Ligety from a three-peat.
Ligety no longer controls his own destiny in the race for this year’s title.
“I definitely have that ability in there,” Ligety said. “Trying to get the feeling back. … Definitely not how I want to be skiing right now.”