American skier Ted Ligety wins third giant slalom at Worlds

American Ted Ligety won the giant slalom race at the Alpine World Ski Championships in Beaver Creek, Colorado today. Fifth after the first run, he came back to beat rival Marcel Hirscher of Austria by nearly half a second. This is the third consecutive time he’s taken gold in the event.

“It’s like the mini Olympics for ski racing,” Ligety said of the Championships, especially with the biannual competition being held on home soil for the first time since 1999. After the race, he told NBC, “I love racing in the U.S. It’s really an anomaly for us.”

Ligety was among the favorites going into the race, having dominated the giant slalom for much of the last few seasons. Also the reigning Olympic gold medalist, his success can largely be attributed to his mastery of new ski dimensions adopted by the international ski federation (FIS) prior to the 2011 season.

This year, however, has been more of a struggle for Ligety as his competitors — particularly Hirscher and Frenchman Alexis Pinturault — have begun to close the gap.

“In 2013 I was winning everything,” Ligety told NBC in his post-race interview. “This one was a bigger question mark. To be able to pull it off is awesome.”

Last week on the PBS NewsHour, we looked at the U.S. Ski Team’s hopes for big medal wins and greater recognition at the Alpine World Ski Championships. Watch that video above.