It’s not all that surprising that Ted Ligety rose to a big-event occasion and won a super combined World Championship Monday in Schladming, Austria. After all, he’d won the combined at the Turin Olympics in 2006.
What’s a little bit surprising—or scary, if you’re his competition—is how he did it: by laying down a blistering downhill run and then coasting in the slalom.
Ligety, the GS ace, had already laid claim to speed-event legitimacy with a win in the World Championship super G last week. In the downhill portion of the combined, he was just .72 seconds behind the winner—and looking every bit the experienced World Cup downhiller.
“It was awesome,” Ligety, a nine-year vet of the circuit, told the Associated Press. “I knew I didn’t have to push hard in the slalom.”
Of course, World Championship wins don’t help Ligety in the World Cup points chase, where Austria’s Marcel Hirscher, with 800 points in slalom alone, remains comfortably on top. The remaining World Cup schedule, when it resumes for three final weeks after the World Championships wrap up this weekend in Austria, is evenly split between tech and speed events, with no more combined races for Ligety to take advantage of.
But it’s intriguing to ponder what a Ted Ligety with newfound speed-event confidence can do on the World Cup next year in the overall World Cup title hunt. Meanwhile, he remains the best GS skier in the world, and will get a chance to add a third world title in that event on Friday at the Worlds. Ligety, is heavily favored in the race. The Park City, Utah, resident has won four of five World Cup GS races this season.
Yeah, even with Lindsey back home rehabbing a blown-out knee, there’s still a lot of star power to cheer on the U.S. Team.