The Dallas Morning News
Bad start hurts repeat chances
American 15th in bid for GS repeat; Hirscher claims gold for Austria
Ted Ligety (above) was far back in the field after his first run, and he couldn’t make up the difference to win another gold medal in the men’s giant slalom.
PYEONGCHANG, South Korea — Ted Ligety knew he hadn’t turned in the best opening run in defense of his Olympic giant slalom title. What he couldn’t tell as he was heading down the hill was just how poorly he’d done.
“I was really surprised when I saw the time,” the 33-year-old American said Sunday after the first of two GS runs at the Pyongyang Alpine Center effectively ended any hopes of another medal in a race he won at the 2014 Sochi Games.
“It didn’t feel like I crushed it,” Ligety said, before adding with a chuckle: “But it didn’t feel 2 /2 seconds bad.”
To be precise, Ligety’s leg of 1 minute, 10.71 seconds put him in 20th place and 2.44 seconds back. He wound up placing 15th, soundly beaten by firstround leader and race favorite Marcel Hirscher. The Austrian superstar, who owns a record six consecutive World Cup overall titles, got his second victory at these Olympics to go with the Alpine combined gold he took earlier.
“My goal was definitely to try to be challenging for a medal here. I thought that was definitely within my range,” said Ligety, who finished fifth on Tuesday in the combined, an event he won at the 2006 Turin Olympics.
The giant slalom has been Ligety’s forte for years. In addition to the triumph at Sochi, which made him the only U.S. male Alpine skier with two Olympic golds, he won GS world championships in 2011, 2013 and 2015, along with a bronze in the event at the 2009 worlds.
But on Sunday, he misjudged the course.
“I just thought it would run maybe a little bit more challenging than maybe it did,” Ligety said. “When you do those little slides, it costs you a ton of time. … Maybe thought the rolls were going to come into play a little bit more, and they were easy. No excuse.” Swiss skier takes silver after head injury: Mathilde Gremaud concedes she does not remember her head slamming onto the slopestyle course during training, or much of anything that happened in the aftermath.
Those may sound like telltale signs of someone reeling from concussion symptoms. But the team doctor who checked her out didn’t discover any. And less than 36 hours after the wreck, Gremaud was not only competing, but winning a silver medal as well.
“I actually don’t remember anything,” Gremaud said Saturday, when asked to recall the accident that could’ve ended her Olympics early.
The Swiss skier’s story offers a window into the concussion protocol for skiing, which has received far less scrutiny than that of the NFL.
According to International Skiing Federation guidelines, team doctors, not an independent medical professional, have authority to clear an athlete.
Swiss team doctor German Clenin, who accompanied Gremaud to the hospital, said that neither a CT scan nor his own neurological tests revealed concussion symptoms. He also put Gremaud through neurological testing the morning of the contest and said she showed no symptoms.
“Concussion can be defined as loss of consciousness. She didn’t have that,” Clenin said. “But it could be defined by vomiting, severe headache, vision trouble. We needed to have this time during the night to see if she would develop these symptoms. There weren’t any.”
Norovirus count up to 275: Fourteen new cases of norovirus among staff and volunteers at the Games were reported Saturday, the Korean Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said, raising the total to 275 people infected.
Of those diagnosed with the highly contagious illness, 53 remain quarantined while the rest have returned to work.
Most of the cases — 111 — have been at the Horeb Youth Center with the others in Pyeongchang (83) and Gangneung (81). The outbreak has been traced to contaminated water used in food preparation at youth center.