Ligety gets into action with super-combi training
KRASNAYA POLYANA, Russia (AP) — Ted Ligety will test the Sochi Olympics snow for the first time Tuesday, while the women’s field will try to replicate Julia Mancuso’s line in the final downhill training session.
Men’s super-combined and women’s downhill training sessions are scheduled for Tuesday, followed by the women’s downhill race Wednesday.
Here are five things to know about Alpine skiing heading into Tuesday’s action:
TED’S TIME: Ligety has big medal ambitions for these games but he hasn’t raced yet because he did not enter the downhill. His first action will come in downhill training for Friday’s super-combined race.
Ligety won gold in combined under the old format of one downhill run and two slalom legs at the 2006 Turin Games. He won again under the current format of one downhill run and one slalom leg at last year’s world championships in Schladming, Austria, setting him up as one of the top favorites for the Olympic event.
Ligety will be even a bigger favorite for the giant slalom next week, as that is the event he has dominated on the World Cup circuit for the past two seasons, winning nine of 14 races.
IMITATING MANCUSO: Julia Mancuso was so fast in the downhill portion of Monday’s super-combined that other skiers will spend hours in front of video screens studying her line before Wednesday’s race.
“I think every girl will look this evening @ her line,” Austria Alpine director Hans Pum said. “After this downhill in the morning, she is the favorite for this downhill. And with the bronze medal, too, now she has no pressure.”
While she ended up third after the slalom leg, Mancuso sped down the 2.7-kilometer (1.69-mile) Rosa Khutor course in 1 minute, 42.68 seconds, 0.47 faster than second-place Lara Gut of Switzerland.
“She definitely put the smackdown in the downhill portion and that gave her enough cushion for the slalom,” U.S. women’s head coach Alex Hoedlmoser said.
Eventual gold medalist Maria Hoefl-Riesch was only fifth in the downhill leg, trailing Mancuso by 1.04.
“It was a decent downhill,” Germany women’s head coach Thomas Stauffer said of Hoefl-Riesch’s run. “It wasn’t a great run. She still had some mistakes on the top.”
INNERHOFER IS IN: After taking silver in the downhill, Italy’s Christof Innerhofer has changed his mind and entered the super-combined.
Before the games, Innerhofer had said he wouldn’t race the super-combi due to persistent back pain, which would affect him more in the slalom leg.
He won silver in super-combi at the 2011 world championships in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany.
KOSTELIC’S KNEES: Ivica Kostelic is worried about the size of the jumps and the heavy landing impacts on the downhill course for the super-combined.
Only to a certain extent, though.
“My knees are already so damaged that there isn’t much to damage anymore,” said the Croatian, who has had 10-plus knee surgeries.
WEATHER PROBLEMS?: The forecast called for light snow overnight and clouds during the day for the Rosa Khutor Alpine center Tuesday, which could prompt delays or cancellations of the training sessions.
Follow Andrew Dampf at http://twitter.com/asdampf