USA’s Ligety Wins WC Super Combined; Vonn Surgery Successful
The USA’s Ted Ligety, who won the super-G last week at the FIS Alpine Ski World Championships in Schladming, Austria, won gold in super-combined (downhill and slalom) Monday.
Ligety’s performances at the Worlds continue to be all the more impressive as he had never won either a super-G or a super-combined World Cup. Still on tap at the Worlds are the Giant Slalom and the slalom.
"I took all the risks after my great downhill run,” Ligety said. “I knew I had a chance but I was looking to ski smart also, as it was easy to ski out as the run was so tough," he said at the finish line.
Favorite Ivica Kostelic from Croatia said he never “found his rhythm” and finished second, while homeboy Romed Baumann of Austria took bronze.
Ligety now appears to be a threat in the slalom in addition to the GS, his best event. "My slalom has not been so satisfying in recent seasons but this performance will encourage me to keep fighting hard to improve my level in that specialty too," he said. No skier has won three titles at a World Championships since France's Jean Claude Killy pulled won four golds in 1968.
Downhill world champion Aksel Lund Svindal of Norway straddled a gate halfway down after looking on course for a podium spot.
Back home in the states, American superstar Lindsey Vonn, seriously injured in a crash during the opening super-G last week, underwent surgery at the Vail Valley Surgery Center. She had torn her anterior cruciate and medial collateral ligaments.
U.S. Women’s Head Physician Bill Sterrett, who performed the surgery, said it “went well and was optimistic for a full recovery.”
“The overall success rate for ACL/MCL surgery is very good,” he said. “Modern surgical techniques combined with aggressive rehabilitation will help Lindsey make a full recovery. She will do everything in her power to return as quickly as possible to competitive skiing.”
Injuries such as Vonn’s are not totally uncommon. USA’s Picabo Street came back the next season following reconstructive surgery to win Olympic gold at Nagano, Japan in 1998.
Photo: super-combined podium, World Alpine Ski Championships (AP/Matthias Schrader)