This was day No. 5 of back-to-back racing and the last day of the American
medal harvest. It was Aksel Lund Svindal who started the day off on top;
but he admitted his real work was over before the slalom began. Indeed,
the slalom course, set by the famously creative Ante Kostelic, contained one
real trick that succeeded in duping the Norwegian.
Bode Miller was more than seven tenths back after the downhill portion
of the race and said before the slalom he was exhausted and “going on
You’d never know it to see him slash those gates.
The Franconia, N.H., native completed his set of Olympic medals in this
race, finally claiming the gold.
“It was just awesome,” said the 32-year-old, adding that his style of skiing
in the race was reminiscent of his first days of racing.
“It’s how I used to ski when I was little; that is the way I skied when I first
came into the World Cup,” he said. “I had to just get fully fired up to take
maximum risk. It’s not like you just turn a key and magically ski at your
absolute best. But when you’re at the Olympics, the energy and everything
else, you can use that to bring your game up, and to be able to do that a
few races in a row — there’s a huge element of luck involved — it feels
Ivica Kostelic, who was just more than a second back in ninth place after the downhill, defended his Olympic super combined silver medal from
2006 and, with inside knowledge of his father’s setting style, came up 0.33
seconds behind Miller. Swiss tech sensation Silvan Zurbriggen landed the
bronze, 0.40 back.
Almost as exciting as Miller’s long-awaited gold was the performance by
the rest of the American squad.
Though he was nearly two seconds out after the downhill portion of the
race, Ted Ligety let loose his fury on the slalom gates and put down the
fastest time of anyone all day ( 50.76) which got him close to a medal in
Having never finished a World Cup race and after a big training crash the
day before, Will Brandenburg lit up the slalom course, putting down the
second fastest run. He was just 0.02 behind Ligety (and 0.23 in front of
Miller, who had the third-fastest slalom run); that put him in the leader’s
box for a good chunk of the race and eventually in 10th.
Andrew Weibrecht, who has had very little time in tight gates this season,
came out on the short skis in 17th place after the first run, and, in spite of
getting jostled at the end of the slalom and tumbling across the finish line,
“I’m extremely proud,” said U.S. Team head coach Sasha Rearick. “I’m
proud of Bode but I have to be honest, I’m ecstatic that Ted Ligety won
the run. Ted came out and just went like hell. Will Brandenburg [has]
never done a super combined on the World Cup, never done a World Cup
downhill, came in and just laid it down. Andrew Weibrecht — we’ve seen
him do that in training but we’ve never seen him do that in a race. He was
boots up at every gate, going as hard as he could, and he got to the bottom,
he had nothing left in the tank and what does he do, he just dives across
the finish line, I mean, how inspiring is that? I love it!”
Ted Ligety blistered the slalom
course with the fastest slalom
time of the day.