WENGEN, Switzerland — As the defending world champion in super combined, it seems sort of silly to say Ted Ligety has anything to prove in the event.
But the Park City native had never won a World Cup in that event until Friday night in Wengen, Switzerland. The victory is his 20th career World Cup gold, and maybe more importantly, it ends what had been a disastrous couple of weeks for him.
“It’s nice to win super combined (on the World Cup circuit),” said Ligety, who won with a combined time of 2:44.74. France’s Alexis Pinturault was second with a time of 2:44.96. “I’ve only done so in big events, which is a good thing to do, but it would have been nice to win a World Cup before now. It’s a nice confidence booster for me, and it feels really good because it’s been a tough month for me so far.” Ligety’s victory was his third World Cup win of the season, although the others were GS wins.
“I’ve had some horrible luck this summer,” Ligety said, referring to some untimely — and uncharacteristic — crashes. “In one, I hit a bump, and I’ve never hooked a tip in the giant slalom before. It’s nice to round the corner and get a good race under my belt.”
He also enjoyed winning something besides GS.
“It is cool to get a win in something other than giant slalom,” he said, acknowledging that winning three world championships in three different disciplines has him heading to the Olympics with high expectations. “My goal in Sochi is to win three medals. I know I have the ability. The main goal for Sochi is the giant slalom. It’s my best event, and I feel like I have the best chance of winning. But I know I have good chances, especially after Schladming, of competing well in combined and super G as well. I’m looking forward to that challenge.”
Snow forced officials to change the normal format from downhill first followed by a slalom race. And Ligety said the conditions were not ideal.
“It was a tough day,” he said. “There was a lot of snowfall, but they groomed and tilled the track, so it was not the greatest snow on the downhill track.”
The race, which ran at night, was well-lit, and Ligety said that enabled him to ski the way he wanted.
“In downhill, if I don’t feel confident enough to go hard, I let myself go slow,” he said. “So at least I could see where I was going so that I could take some risks and not feel like I’m about to kill myself.”
Ligety’s teammates Bode Miller finished ninth and Jared Goldberg earned his first World Cup points with a 20th-place finish.