Arcing those classic GS turns we have thankfully become accustomed to, combined with an evident love of – and comfort at – speed, Ted Ligety brought America her fourth World super G crown Wednesday (Feb. 6) in Schladming, Austria.
Ligety’s super G prowess has been growing. He was fourth twice this season before the turn of the year and sixth on the torturous track at Kitzbuehel. A beautiful course set utilizing all of the considerable terrain on the Planai and the adrenalin of the “big event,” raised his game one more notch. He was exquisite in his execution, smoking the competition particularly at the bottom of the course.
It took that kind of run to win. Nobody was willing to give the race away and one surprising skier was willing to take unusually high risk.
Frenchman Gauthier DeTessiere had been sitting at home a week before the race training, he said, with his six year old niece. His teammate Johan Clarey had decided he needed surgery for a back problem and DeTessiere got a phone call. “In the start I had such great energy, and I don’t know why,” DeTessiere said. “It was such a great day and I think the story is just amazing.”
He threw caution out the window, was aggressive and took the early lead. It was his time that Ligety, wearing the 10th bib, had to beat.
Even that early in the running order (82 were on the start order) it was evident Ligety would be tough to beat. His form had been near perfection in the air and those uncanny body angles had his hips just fractionally above the surface. He never flustered, he never hesitated. It was a gold medal run worthy of study.
“The whole way I was trying to link up turns,” he said. “Watching from the start I saw a lot of guys sliding at the top of the turn and I knew that I could be capable – that a lot of other guys – could be capable to making it cleaner, so that was my goal, every turn, to link it up cleanly.”
“I took a lot of risks, especially at the bottom where it was steeper,” Ligety said. “I didn’t have to pay for that risk, so it was a good day.”
Bronze medal winner Aksel Lund Svindal, enjoying a spectacular speed racing season, gave the hardest chase. The World Championships call for an all or nothing approach, and Svindal gave that. He took the early lead, as several others had before him, and was fabulous in the middle of the course linking his turns well enough to increase his lead from .06 of a second to .09. But at the bottom his ski caught momentarily in the snow, his skis split as he fought for balance and he coasted through the last two gates into third.
“Usually in super G there is at least one section where you follow the gates in your tuck position,” said Svindal. “Here in Schladming there is not one single gate actually – out of the start maybe and in the last 50 meters before the finish – everything else is GS skiing.”
“I think (in) the middle section he (Ligety) took a lot of time on almost everyone, and I was able to keep up with him there. I had him almost all the way and then I had a little problem in the last turn. But, I am happy with third.”
Austrians Hannes Reichelt and Matthias Mayer finished fourth and fifth respectively, each with impressive runs, but they could not keep up with the GS king on a course that required strong technical skiing.
Thomas Biesemeyer was the next best American in 13th place with Ryan Cochran-Siegle skiing to 15th. Andrew Weibrecht was challenging but overcooked it within sight of the finish and missed a gate. Coach Sasha Rearick, definitely a bit jazzed by Ligety’s gold, saw the other team results in a good light.
“Weibrecht’s skiing today was awesome, fantastic skiing,” said Rearick. “Unfortunately he got a little bit unlucky on one turn there at the bottom. Biesemeyer did a great job coming back from injury to get into the points (World Cup Start List) and RCS (Cochran-Siegle) starting in the back where people had no chance, he skied great, excellent execution. For a 21 year old kid to do that here at the world champs is really, really fun to see. Awesome momentum building.”
Not so much momentum building for the Canadians. Jan Hudec led the team in 12th with Manuel Osborne-Paradis 16th. Ben Thomsen fought the course the whole way and still got 19th while a freshly shaved head did not serve Erik Guay well and he brought up the rear in 23rdh.
“It was a disappointing day,” said head coach Pete Bosinger. “We are here to win medals and that didn’t happen today. A couple of the guys skied sections okay but that’s not what it will take at the World Championships. We need good skiing top to bottom.”
One significant knee injury was reported to Kjetil Jansrud of Norway. His team announced he would not compete in the rest of the World Championships. No further information was immediately available.
Ligety joins Daron Rahlves (2001 St Anton), Bode Miller (2005 Bormio) and Lindsey Vonn (2009 Val d’Isere) as World Super G Champion.
It is Ligety’s second World title, he claimed the GS crown at Garmisch in 2011, and his third World Championship medal having placed third in GS in 2009. -HM
by Hank McKee
Men’s World Championship super G, Schladming, Austria, Feb. 6, 2013
1 Ligety, Head/Head/Head
2 DeTessiere, Head/Head/Head
3 Svindal, Head/Head/Head
4 Reichelt, Salomon/Salomon/Salomon
5 Mayer, Head/Head/Head
6 Pinturault, Salomon/Salomon/Salomon
7 Innerhofer, Rossignol/Rossignol/Rossignol
8 Baumann, Blizzard/Tecnica/Marker
9 Theaux, Salomon/Salomon/Salomon
10 Streitberger, Head/Head/Head
Men’s World Championship super G, Schladming, Austria, Feb. 6, 2013. … It is the second of ten individual races (plus a team event) at the 42nd FIS World Ski Championships. … It is the 28th title super G, the 14th for men. … It is the tenth World Championship race hosted by Schladming which also hosted in 1982. … Defending champion is Christof Innerhofer. … Last World Cup winner in SG at Schladming was also Innerhofer March 15, 2012.
It is the second World Championship for Ted Ligety who also won the GS at Garmisch (2011). … and his third World Championship medal having gained bronze in GS at Val d’Isere (2009). … He also owns a gold medal in combined from Sestriere (2006). … It is his first super G victory in World Cup or title meet competition. … He previous best was second at Val d’Isere Dec. 12, 2009. … He was fourth twice earlier this season (Lake Louise Nov. 25 and Beaver Creek Dec. 1). … It is the fourth World Championship in super G for the US team after Daron Rahlves (St Anton 2001), Bode Miller (Bormio 2005) and Lindsey Vonn (Val d’Isere 2009).
It is the first World Championship medal for Gauthier DeTessiere and the second in super G for a French male (Franck Piccard won bronze at Saalbach 1991). … He had never placed better than eighth in a World Cup, Olympic or World Championship SG previously.
It is the seventh World Championship medal for Aksel Lund Svindal. … his second in super G, the other also a bronze at Val d’Isere 2009. … He also holds three Olympic medals including the gold medal in super G from Whistler (2010). … He has been on the podium in 18 World Cup super G’s including four this season. … Third place was his worst placing in the discipline of the season.
Jan Hudec had previously been seventh in two World Championship super G’s, at St Moritz (2003) and Are (2007). … It is his third best SG finish of the season. … It is the first career World Championship placing for Thomas Biesemeyer. … And his best placing of four this season, all in super G. … It is the first career World Championship placing for Ryan Cochran-Siegle. … his best placing of four this season, two in super G. … It is the fourth World Championship placing for Manuel Osborne-Paradis and matches his career second best. … It is his first placing in super G. … It is his eighth top 30 finish of the season and third in SG. … It is the third best of three World Championship finishes for Benjamin Thomsen. … his sixth top 30 of the season and his best super G result of the season. … It is the worst completed World Championship race for Erik Guay. … and matches his worst of 10 Cup results this season.
USA 2 (1gold, 1bronze)
SLO 1 (gold)
SUI 1 (silver)
FRA 1 (silver)
NOR 1 (bronze)
FIS World Ski Championships
Men’s Super G
Feb 6, 2013
|Rank||Bib||FIS Code||Name||Year||Nation||Total Time||FIS Points|
|2||4||191746||DE TESSIERES Gauthier||1981||FRA||1:24.16||2.50|
|3||22||421328||SVINDAL Aksel Lund||1982||NOR||1:24.18||2.75|
|21||7||192504||MERMILLOD BLONDIN Thomas||1984||FRA||1:26.11||26.89|
|37||37||491151||DE LA CUESTA Paul||1988||SPA||1:28.48||56.53|
|43||77||30246||BIRKNER KETELHOHN Jorge F.||1990||ARG||1:29.99||75.41|
|57||62||30149||SIMARI BIRKNER Cristian Javier||1980||ARG||1:32.02||100.80|
|Disqualified 1st run|
|Did not finish 1st run|
|79||30283||FREEMAN CRESPO Ignacio||1992||ARG|
|42||400281||VAN HEEK Marvin||1991||NED|