Ted Ligety celebrates three gold medals at the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships in Schladming - first time in 45 years. (Getty Images/AFP-Samuel Kubani)
SCHLADMING, Austria (Feb. 15) - Defending World Champion Ted Ligety (Park City, UT) rewrote the history books, becoming the first man in 45 years to win three gold at a World Championships. Ligety banked a 1.30 second first run lead to win by .81 over Austria's Marcel Hirscher in the giant slalom at the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships in Schladming. Legendary ski star Jean Claude Killy was the last to accomplish the feat when he won four gold in 1968. Ligety opened the Championships last week with a win in super G, then added another on Monday in super combined. Coverage will air at 11:00 a.m. EST on Universal Sports Network.
Ted Ligety (Park City, UT) made history winning his third gold at the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships in Schladming.
Ligety becomes first since Jean Claude Killy 45 years ago in 1968 to win three or more gold in one World Championships. Killy won four World Championship medals at the 1968 Olympics in Grenoble.
Only four men previously have won three or more gold (Toni Sailer, Austria, 4 in 1956, 3 in 1958; Jean Claude Killy, France, 4 in 1968; Stein Eriksen, Norway, 3 in 1954; Emile Allais, France, 3 in 1937)
First man or woman to win gold in super G, super combined and giant slalom.
Seventh man to win two giant slalom gold in his career (sixth to win back-to-back)
Matches Bode Miller's career total of four World Championship gold.
Ligety's win came 31 years after Steve Mahre also won gold in GS when the World Championships were last in Schladming.
Tim Jitloff (Reno, NV) had the seventh fastest second run to finish 16th. Robby Kelley (Starksboro, VT) was 26th in his first World Championships.
Universal Sports Network will broadcast coverage at 11:00 a.m. EST Friday with highlights on NBC at 3:00 p.m. Saturday during coverage of the women's slalom.
QUOTES Ted Ligety If you want to call me the King of Schladming, that's cool with me. This has been a crazy, unbelievable week - definitely far exceeded my expectations. To win three gold medals here is awesome and to join some of the legends of the sport. There was definitely a lot of pressure coming into the GS as the defending champion. With those gold medals it definitely added a lot of extra pressure.
Marcel has been really pushing me the last couple years in GS. He's been a big motivate to continue the level of training and pushing as hard as I do. It's not easy having such a young guy like that be so, so good at such a young age. I've had to push really hard and he's pushed me to a new level.
Sasha Rearick, Head Men's Coach
No one has done this in the modern era because of the development of the World Cup. You have tremendous athletes, programs, national teams and company support pushing at a very high level. Over the last 30 years, specialists have developed in multiple events so to be able to win in three events has been impossible. When you think of the greats like Lasse Kjus, Kjetil Aamodt and Hermann Maier - and they haven't done it. It's amazing, absolutely amazing achievement for Ted.
It's somewhere in his mind right now. 'I've achieve this, it's great, let's celebrate it. But we have a lot of work to do in the future.' In some way it hasn't hit him and in some ways he's getting ready for the next challenge.
I hope it inspires a lot of athletes to continue skiing and I hope it inspires them to do what he's done to get to this level. it's tremendous hard work since he was a little kid but especially hard work when he made the development team - day in and day out coming in and training more professionally and harder than anyone. it shows that hard work is fun, hard work is rewarding.
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