Olympic Champion Ted Ligety is back!

Posted By: The Ski Channel on October 25, 2009 11:25 am

Fans were wary when American all-around superstar skier Ted Ligety suffered a knee injury at the U.S. National Championships last spring in Alyeska. The Olympic combined champion didn’t require surgery, but he did undergo extensive rehabilitation over the summer in Park City, Utah, at the U.S.

Ski and Snowboard Association’s Center of Excellence.

Coaches were encouraged when Ligety came back strong in New Zealand and Chile, and then again at a more recent training camp in Saas, Fee, Switzerland. But if anyone was wondering just how strong he would be, Ligety delivered the answer earlier today at the Audi FIS World Cup Opener GS race in Soelden, Austria.

Despite slick conditions and an extremely turn-y course, Ligety hung strong to claim his first podium of the 2009/2010 season, a silver medal which was one notch up from his bronze-medal performance last year on the Rettenbach glacier, and a repeat of his finish in 2007.

Rewind to 2006: Ligety was a relative dark horse coming into the Winter Olympic Games in Torino, and had just nabbed his first World Cup podium only two months befor

e the event. His gold medal in the super combined event was a surprise to many ski racing enthusiasts, not to mention other athletes in the field.

Now after consistently cementing his place as one of the world’s best skiers on the World Cup tour, Ligety is known everywhere as a gold medal  favorite for the 2010 Olympic Games in Vancouver. No pressure or anything. “It’s such a huge confidence-builder if you can start off on the right foot,” Ligety told USA Today earlier this week.

To be fair, the course at this year’s World Cup in Soelden was extremely bumpy with inconsistent terrain after peripatetic weather all week. And Switzerland’s Dider Cuche, who won the event, is not only the 2009 World Cup GS Champion, but rumor has it that he was at least a second faster in training (earlier this week at Soelden) than the next fastest athlete (his Swiss teammate, Carlo Janka who ended up claiming the bronze). What are we getting at? U.S. Ski Team athlete Ted Ligety has most definitely launched the season on the right foot.

photo: U.S. Ski Team