Sochi Olympics: Ted Ligety is looking for medal in giant slalom

Skier has helped U.S. teammates with tactical information in other races at the Games but has not won a medal. He is the favorite to win Wednesday in giant slalom.

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Ted Ligety

American Ted Ligety will go for gold in the men's giant slalom Wednesday at the Sochi Winter Olympic Games. (Doug Pensinger / Getty Images / February 15, 2014)

SOCHI, Russia — Ted Ligety's biggest contribution to the Olympics so far has been helping teammate Bode Miller and Andrew Weibrecht win medals

Ligety had a terrific trip Sunday down the super-giant slalom course except for one huge mistake between Bear's Brow and Lake Jump.

Ligety ended up 14th but radioed important information to Miller.

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"He left a great course report to Bode," U.S. men's Coach Sasha Rearick said after the race. "Bode threw it down harder. Where Ted made a mistake Bode skied that great."

Miller tied for the bronze.

Weibrecht, in the same race, stunningly won the silver in part because he nailed the very technical top part of the course.

Before the Olympics, Weibrecht honed his turns and technique by skiing with Ligety in Austria.

Ligety is happy to be a team player, but he didn't come to Sochi to be a forerunner or part-time coach.

Ligety came here to win — big.

At last year's world championships in Austria, he won gold in the super combined, super-G and giant slalom.

So far at Sochi, though, Ligety has struck out in two events.

He didn't race the downhill but had a real chance for a medal in super combined before a tentative performance in the slalom. He finished 12th.

"I could have gone way, way harder, I respected the course too much," Ligety said. "To put it simply, I choked, for sure."

Ligety skied much better in the super-G but said his mistake cost him at least a second, which would have meant at least the bronze. He ended up 1.34 seconds out of first.

Ligety is the favorite entering Wednesday's giant slalom, an event he has mastered and dominated.

Since finishing ninth in giant slalom at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, Ligety has taken giant slalom to another level.

He has won 10 of his last 15 races.

Ligety won the last giant slalom race before the Olympics, in Switzerland, by 1.51 seconds. That's almost like winning the mile by a lap.

Ligety caught a break this week when Norway's Aksel Lund Svindal, citing allergies and fatigue, pulled out of the last two events. Svindal won bronze in the giant slalom at Vancouver.

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