Naeba

Tommy Ford returns to giant slalom podium in Japan

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Tommy Ford earned his second World Cup podium of the season, and his career, at a giant slalom in Naeba, Japan on Saturday.

Ford, a two-time U.S. Olympian, finished third, 1.07 seconds behind first-time Croatian winner Filip Zubcic. Zubcic came from 12th after the first run to prevail by .74 over Swiss Marco Odermatt.

Full results are here.

Ford returned to the podium for the first time since his breakout victory in Beaver Creek, Colo., on Dec. 8.

“[After Beaver Creek], it was a bit of a struggle to deal with the extra attention from that and ground again,” said Ford, who rallied from 10th place after the first run. “A bit of a struggle to find that consistency again. I’m thankful for that struggle because it’s been a big learning experience I haven’t had before.”

Ford, 30, ended the U.S. men’s longest victory and podium droughts in two decades in his 86th career World Cup start in Beaver Creek.

He became the first U.S. man to win a World Cup since Travis Ganong took a downhill on Jan. 27, 2017. He also became the first U.S. male podium finisher since Ted Ligety in January 2018. Both were the longest droughts for the program since the late 1990s.

Ford ranks fifth in the giant slalom season standings, 43 points behind third place with three scheduled races left.

The men’s World Cup continues with a slalom in Naeba on Saturday night (11 ET, Olympic Channel and NBC Sports Gold).

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