I'm super-thrilled. That was by the skin of my teeth today. —Ted Ligety
LENZERHEIDE, Switzerland — Thanks to his fifth win, and a little luck, Mr. GS has another trophy to go with his nickname.
Ted Ligety won his fifth giant slalom of the season, and thanks to Marcel Hirscher finishing fourth, the Park City native wins the season’s GS World Cup title. Hirscher, however, wins his third straight overall World Cup title thanks to his consistency.
“I’m super thrilled,” Ligety said. “That was by the skin of my teeth today. I was able to win quite a bit (this season), but it's a testament to the fortitude of Marcel to get on the podium in almost every race, so I'm happy to walk away with it.”
Ligety not only needed to win Saturday’s GS race, which he did by edging France’s Alexis Pinturault by .03 of a second, but he needed Hirscher to take fourth or worse.
The Austrian was pushed off the podium by Ligety’s good friend, Felix Neureuther, Germany, who was just .01 of a second faster than Hirscher.
He was so grateful, he tweeted a picture of himself kissing Neureuther on the cheek.
“It’s pretty crazy to be in a cup fight this close,” he said. “Definitely wasn’t expecting it today because a lot of scenarios had to fall in my favor.” With Hirscher finishing fourth, he tied Ligety in points, but Ligety had more GS wins to edge Hirscher for the title in giant slalom. Hirscher, however, had enough points to take home the overall World Cup championship.
"My big goal was the overall World Cup title, and I got it and I'm so happy," said the 25-year-old Hirscher, the first man to win three in a row since American Phil Mahre completed the feat in 1983.
The excitement will continue on Sunday when the fight for the season-long slalom title will be decided. Neureuther leads Hirscher by five points in the slalom standings.
“He’s very mad about me, so it’s going to be very close,” said Neureuther.
Ligety shared the day with 19-year-old Mikaela Shiffrin, who won her fifth race of the season, which earned her the slalom title.