In the final giant slalom world cup before the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018, an American man stood on the alpine skiing world cup podium for the first time in a year.
Ted Ligety, the defending Olympic gold medalist in giant slalom, finished third with a time of 2:41.87 in the same event on Sunday in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany, to become the first U.S. man since Travis Ganong on Jan. 27, 2017, to claim a podium spot on the world cup circuit. Ligety, who has dealt with a number of injuries in recent years, had not finished in the top three in a world cup race since Dec. 5, 2015, when he came in second in the super-G in Beaver Creek, Colorado.
Marcel Hirscher won the race with a time of 2:40.18 for his 55th world cup victory and Manuel Feller was second in 2:41.75. Both are from Austria.
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Ligety will be competing in his fourth Olympics next month in PyeongChang. In his first appearance in Torino in 2006 at 21 years old, he became the youngest American man to win a gold medal in alpine skiing when he won the combined race. Now 33 years old, Ligety has overcome injuries including herniated discs, a torn muscle in his hip and a torn ACL since Sochi. Last year he had to cut his world cup season short for the second year in a row in order to have back surgery.
This year he came close to the podium twice before Sunday, with a fifth-place finish in Italy in December and a seventh-place finish in Beaver Creek in December.
Karen Price is a reporter from Pittsburgh who has covered Olympic sports for various publications. She is a freelance contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.