U.S. Alpine skier Ted Ligety extended his reign as the best giant slalom skier in the world with his win at Sochi on Wednesday.
The king established his dominance with a huge first-run lead in the giant slalom, and then easily held on to take gold at the Winter Games. The victory makes Ligety the first American man to win two Olympic gold medals in Alpine skiing.
The win came just in time for the U.S. Ski Team, which hadn’t yet won a race at Sochi. Ligety—a strong medal favorite coming into the Games—didn’t even crack the top 10 in his first events, the downhill and the super-G.
Ligety surprised everyone when he won gold at the 2006 Winter Games, but now he's a 29-year-old three-time defending world champion, and the pressure was on. Thankfully, Ligety excels under the spotlight.
"To be able to throw it down in the event I had the most pressure in, and the event I was the favorite in—to be able to do that is awesome," Ligety told ESPN. "This was really the event that I wanted to win."
Ligety isn’t the only American skier to do his country proud recently. David Wise, of Reno, Nevada, nabbed gold Tuesday in the first-ever Olympic men’s ski halfpipe. One of the tricks that put him on the top step of the podium? The unnatural double cork 1260, the scariest trick at Sochi.