Winter Games Athletes
Those looking for a favorite to win gold in the men’s giant slalom at the Sochi Games are likely discussing Ligety before any other. The 29-year-old has placed first in the discipline’s World Cup season standings four times, including 2013. He is also its two-time defending gold medalist at the world championships, topping the podium in 2011 and '13 after earning bronze in '09. In addition to his most recent giant slalom gold, Ligety also won the top prize in super-G and super-combined in 2013 to become the fifth man in Alpine history to win at least three golds at one world championships. Ligety is the only skier – male or female – to claim giant slalom, super-G and combined gold in the same championship. In the Olympics, he announced himself as a member of the Alpine elite with gold in the combined at the 2006 Turin Games, his first year as an Olympian. He didn’t enjoy that same level of success in 2010 at Vancouver, where he finished fifth in the combined and ninth in the giant slalom, though he went on to win his second of four World Cup season titles in the giant slalom later that season. In the overall World Cup standings, Ligety has placed in the top 10 in six straight seasons with his third-place finish during his breakout 2013 season highlighting that stretch.