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Finally, an Alpine Gold
In a surprising turn of events, Ligety wins one of only four U.S. Alpine gold medals ever.
By Marvin Weinrick, Scholastic Kids Press Corps


Tuesday, February 14—It was heartbreak and triumph on the slopes of Sestriere today for the American ski team.

Superstar skier Bode Miller, who was solidly in first place, was disqualified for straddling a gate during his first slalom. But his disappointment turned to gold for Ted Ligety, whose combined time for the three events was 3:09.35.

Ivica Kostelic of Croatia came in behind him with a time of 3:09.88 to win the silver. The bronze went to Austrian Rainer Schoenfelder with a time of 3:10.67.

Benjamin Raich of Austria was a strong favorite to win but skied off course during the last slalom of the day. That led to a jubilant celebration for the U.S. team at the finish line.

"It's incredible," Ligety said. "I can't believe it [happened] in combined because I'm not very good in downhill."

Although the Ligety win was a surprise to most—he was 32nd after the downhill—it wasn't to his coach, Phil McNichol.

"I'm not surprised he's on the podium," McNichol said. "I'm a bit surprised he won gold."

The win was significant for the Americans. It is only the fourth gold medal ever to go to the U.S. in men's Alpine skiing.


Photos, left to right: © Rick Rickman/NewSport/NewSport/Corbis; © Joe Cavaretta/AP Wide World.