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Olympics: Ligety left licking his wounds with eye on giant slalom

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Reigning three-time world gold medallist Ted Ligety was left licking his wounds Sunday after failing to even get near to the men's Olympic super-G podium.

But the 29-year-old was not too downbeat over his 14th position, following his 12th in Friday's super-combined.

"I actually skied really well, I was right there in podium contention up until I made a huge, huge mistake and then skied well again on the bottom," said Ligety.

"If you take all of our times and just cut out that middle split where I made that mistake, it probably would have looked like a podium.

"That's a little disappointing and frustrating but at least I was pushing hard and had the right attack mode and just made one big error in the wrong spot."

Ligety confirmed his all-round prowess at last year's World Ski Championships in Schladming, winning three golds (giant slalom, super-G, super-combined) to become the first man in 45 years to do so.

But the first medals for the US men's ski team in Sochi went the way of unheralded Andrew Weibrecht, who won silver behind Norwegian Kjetil Jansrud in the super-G, with veteran Bode Miller sharing bronze with Canadian Jan Hudec.

It was 36-year-old Miller's sixth Olympic medal.

"It's awesome for Weibrecht and Bode," Ligety said, saying he had not been surprised by Weibrecht's first podium placing since he won bronze at the Vancover Olympics in 2010.

"They skied well. I know Weibrecht has that speed, that result doesn't surprise me, it's awesome to see him lay it down in an Olympics again.

"He can ski really, really well, he just makes a lot of mistakes in races. To see him throw down and have a good run today is really cool to see. I'm super pumped for him."

Ligety, who shot to prominence when he won combined gold at the 2006 Turin Games, has previously credited his disappointing performance at the 2010 Vancouver Games with positively changing his mental approach towards ski racing.

Four years ago, he finished ninth in his favoured discipline of giant slalom, an event he has truly dominated on the World Cup stage, and fifth in the super-combined.

But he said his results here so far would count for little come Wednesday's giant slalom, his preferred discipline.

"Every event is totally different. It's not like that matters that much," he said.

"I'm just going to push hard on Wednesday, I know where my skiing can be and this season I've had lots of ups and downs in other races and results but still put together fast runs in giant slalom.

"So I don't think that really has much of a bearing on the results so far here and the results come the giant slalom."

Ligety acknowledged that there was an "obvious choice" for the favourites in the giant slalom.

"There are a lot of guys who can be fast for sure, but myself, (Austrian Marcel) Hirscher and (France's Alexis) Pinturault are going to be the tougher guys to beat," he said.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/140216/olympics-ligety-left-licking-his-wounds-eye-giant-slalom-0