Two-time Olympian Tommy Ford saved his best performance for home snow.
Ford won the men’s giant slalom in the Birds of Prey world cup at Beaver Creek, Colorado, capturing his first career victory on the world cup tour with a two-run time of 2:31.25.
The podium finish was the first in any world cup discipline for Ford, who is off to the best start of his career. He began the year with a fourth-place finish – one spot ahead of U.S. teammate and four-time Olympian Ted Ligety – in the season-opening giant slalom at Soelden, Austria.
"I've been working hard," Ford said on the telecast after his winning run. "And the crowd's been here year after year."
Ligety, a two-time gold medalist, finished 11th with a time of 2:33.89.
Ford defeated Henrik Kristoffersen of Norway, who finished second with a time of 2:32.05, and Leif Kristian Nestvold-Haugen of Norway, who was third with a time of 2:32.48.
Ford was the fastest skier in the first run Sunday, completing the run in 1:16.40, marking the first time in his world cup career that he was the leader after the first run of an event. Ligety was fourth. By the time Ford and the rest of the skiers took to the hill for the second run, portions of the course had become enveloped in a dense fog, causing difficulty in seeing from gate to gate. Two skiers couldn’t complete the run.
Ford was the last to go in the second run, and by then dense fog had given way to snowfall. He executed a clean run, completing it in 1:14.85, nearly two seconds faster than his first run. When he reached the bottom of the hill, the crowd roared, waving American flags.
Ford’s best finishes in the giant slalom have come over the last two seasons. After finishing 15th at Beaver Creek in February 2018, he finished a career-best sixth at Val d’Isere, France, and then topped that with a fifth-place finish at Alta Badia, Italy. Six of his last nine giant slalom races on the world cup tour have produced top-10 finishes.
Sunday’s performance marked his first podium finish in an international competition since placing second in an FIS super-G race in Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy, this past January.
Paul D. Bowker has been writing about Olympic and Paralympic sports since 1996, when he was an assistant bureau chief in Atlanta. He is a freelance contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.