BEAVER CREEK, Colo. — The final race at Beaver Creek in 2013 transcends imagination. It was a complete contrast in styles producing an historic one-two finish for the host, an American triumph with the greatest GS skier of the current era, Ted Ligety, getting challenged by the greatest male skier in American history, Bode Miller. In third was the best skier in the world the last two seasons, Austrian Marcel Hirscher, who said, “The U.S. boys are that fast and the rest of the world the only thing we can do is say, ‘Oh my god, they are so good. That’s the only thing we can do.’”
Hirscher had a lead over the rest of the field by more than a second, but Ligety ultimately won by 1.32 seconds over Miller who was a half-second ahead of Hirscher.
That stuff just doesn’t happen. It was the first American 1-2 finish since 2005, ironically also at Beaver Creek when Daron Rahlves won the downhill and Bode Miller was second. It’s not a common event, a fact hardly lost on a cold crowd that roared with every split time displayed during both of Miller’s and Ligety’s second runs. It was also the fourth consecutive World Cup GS win for Ligety, something not accomplished since Alberto Tomba.
For Ligety, the win was all but expected. He is, after all, Mr. GS. But for Bode, returning from a year off to rehabilitate a knee that has bothered him for years, the first few weeks of the tour had produced no result better than 13th. He’s 36 years old, he hadn’t won a GS in eight years and he had a terrible start number, 31st, on a day when eight inches of snow had to be scraped off the course before the race could begin.
But his vast popularity had never waned. In the opening run Ligety had scorched a run so fast (in bib six) it really wasn’t threatened at all, characteristically arcing his way systematically down the tough Birds of Prey/Golden Eagle course. But Bode, with a style considerably rougher than Ligety came closest, (1.1o seconds) drawing a huge roar from the audience and generating a lot of hugging and laughter among U.S. officials, coaches, techs and media.
The second heat was all but anticlimactic. The two Americans had spent much of the time between runs together (they used the spin bikes in the same room) and talked, but not about the race. Looks like there could be a healthy rivalry in the making here. There was a genuine hug in the finish with wide smiles on both sides. Bode went so far as to suggest the two both knew after the first run they had it locked.
“It’s always a little tough with a two run event,” Miller said, “because after the first run I felt like I’d already won, and people were already congratulating me. My daughter was like ‘You got second place,’ and Ted was like ‘Not yet.’ And that’s the challenge of ski racing.
“I took maybe a little too much risk and made some mistakes, but I really wanted to ski 100 percent and that’s why I did the work I did in the summer. To beat someone like Ted, that’s what you have to do you have to go absolutely 100 percent from top to bottom with no mistakes and no fatigue.”
Miller said he’s closing in on regaining the form required to get back on the top step of the podium,
“There’s little tiny pieces that are missing,” he said. “I haven’t had much time on the new equipment. I’m on all new skis in all four events. I feel like I’m ready and I think today shows that it’s close.”
Ligety said there’s too many variables in ski racing to feel over confident after the first run of a two run race. But he was sure glad to have another American on the podium with him. “To share the podium with Bode is awesome. I’m a little surprised actually — he probably doesn’t like it — but it’s impressive how he’s able to bring his intensity up and put down some impressive runs.”
Men’s World Cup giant slalom at Beaver Creek, USA, Dec. 8, 2013
Equipment - Skier, skis/boots/bindings
1 Ligety, Head/Head/Head
2 Miller, Head/Head/Head
3 Hirscher, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
4 Faivre, Head/Head/Head
5 Pinturault, Salomon/Salomon/Salomon
6 Janka, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
7 Neureuther, Nordica/Nordica/Marker
8 Haugen, Rossignol/Rossignol/Rossignol
9 Luitz, Rossignol/Rossignol/Rossignol
10 Nani, Voelkl/Fischer/Marker
Men’s World Cup Giant Slalom, Beaver Creek, USA. … Dec. 8, 2013. … It is the seventh of 34 races on the men’s 2013-4 World Cup schedule. … It is the second of eight scheduled giant slaloms. … It is the 56th World Cup race held at Beaver Creek and the sixth this season. … It is the 13th World Cup GS held at Beaver Creek. Ted Ligety has won three of the last four GS’s at the site.
It is the 19th career World Cup victory for Ted Ligety, all of them in GS. … He has won four consecutive cup GS races. … and nine of the last 12, plus the World Championship. … It is the 263rd US win. … Ligety moves past Tamara McKinney to become the fourth winningest U.S. competitor in World Cup history. … He is fourth all time (third among men) for GS wins.
It is the 76th career World Cup podium result for Bode Miller. his first since Dec. 16, 2011 when he was second in SG at Val Gardena. … It is his first podium in GS since March 17, 2007 when he was third at Lenzerheide.
It is the 48th career World Cup podium for Marcel Hirscher. … It is his 12th straight podium result in slalom and/or GS. …
Canadian Trevor Philp scored his first World Cup point.
Aksel Lund Svindal (11th in race) maintains the lead of the World Cup overall standings 360-269 over Ligety. … Hirscher is third with 235pts. … Ligety leads the GS standings with a perfect 200pts over Alexis Pinturault (fifth in race) 200-125. … Hirscher is third with 120pts. … Miller is fourth. …
Austria leads the men’s Nations Cup 1268-757 over france. … Italy is third with 681pt. … The US is sixth with 508 and Canada seventh with 250pts.
Results — Men’s GS, Beaver Creek
|Rank||Bib||FIS Code||Name||Year||Nation||Run 1||Run 2||Total Time||FIS Points|
|8||23||421669||HAUGEN Leif Kristian||1987||NOR||1:21.74||1:17.09||2:38.83||17.48|
|11||7||421328||SVINDAL Aksel Lund||1982||NOR||1:22.40||1:16.63||2:39.03||18.63|
|Did not qualify for 2nd run|
|67||60236||VAN DEN BROECKE Dries||1995||BEL|
|60||30149||SIMARI BIRKNER Cristian Javier||1980||ARG|
|50||422139||KILDE Aleksander Aamodt||1992||NOR|
|39||990116||DE ALIPRANDINI Luca||1990||ITA|
|29||191746||DE TESSIERES Gauthier||1981||FRA|
|Did not finish 1st run|
|66||40553||CHEVALIER Luc Henri||1992||AUS|
|30||192504||MERMILLOD BLONDIN Thomas||1984||FRA|