U.S. skier Ted Ligety clinched his first world super-G ski title after Olympic champion and pre-race favorite Aksel Lund Svindal made a mistake in the final turns of the race.
Ligety finished in 1 minute, 23.96 seconds on the 1,348-meter-long Planai slope at the alpine world championships in Schladming, Austria. Gauthier de Tessieres, a 31-year-old only brought into the French team after Johan Clarey sustained an injury last weekend, was 0.20 second behind for silver while Super-G World Cup leader Svindal of Norway took bronze at 0.22 second behind the American.
“That was nerve-wracking,” Ligety, 28, told broadcaster Eurosport. “I was trying to push as hard as I could, the light was pretty flat.”
Svindal, the winner of three out of four Super-G races on the World Cup circuit this season, had been ahead of Ligety until his body twisted two gates from the finish line, dropping him into third.
Ligety, who leads the giant slalom standings on the World Cup tour, is the first American man to win a world title in the discipline since Bode Miller in 2005. Until today, his best super-G performance at the world championships was a 31st spot in 2007 in Are, Sweden.
Just like during yesterday’s women’s Super-G race, today’s event was held in poor light conditions, making it harder for the skiers to see the race line.
The women’s event, delayed by 3 ½ hours because of fog, was won by Slovenia’s Tina Maze as Olympic downhill champion Lindsey Vonn suffered a season-ending crash. Vonn, who tore two ligaments in her knee and broke a bone in her leg, will undergo surgery next week in her hometown of Vail, Colorado, the Associated Press reported today.
The Super-G is a single-run Alpine event combining the speed of downhill with the more precise turns of giant slalom.
The world championships continue on Feb. 8 with the super-combined race for the women.