Ski racer Tommy Ford waited a long time for his first career world cup podium finish, but his second wasn’t far behind.
The two-time Olympian from Bend, Oregon, who back in December got both his first career win and top-three finish in his 86th world cup start, took third in the giant slalom in Naeba, Japan on Saturday. He won the event in Beaver Creek on Dec. 8, snapping a nearly three-year winning drought for the U.S. men in the process. It was also the first time a U.S. man reached the podium in a world cup race since Ted Ligety in January 2018.
Two months later the 30-year-old found himself raising his arms and posing for photos once again.
Ford, 30, was in 10th place after the first run with a time of one minute, 18:12 seconds. He clocked in at 1:20.20 on his second run for a total time of 2:38.22, just 1.07 seconds behind winner Filip Zubcic of Croatia. Switzerland’s Marco Odermatt was second with a time of 2:37.99.
Ford also narrowly missed a podium finish earlier in the season, coming in fourth at the season opener in giant slalom in Soelden, Austria. He’s raced giant slalom six times this year and did not finish one, but hasn’t finished below 20th in the other five. He’s currently ranked fifth in the world cup standings in giant slalom and within striking distance of a top-three finish with three races left on the schedule.
Prior to this season, Ford’s best finish on the world cup circuit was fifth in December 2018. The technical specialist also races parallel giant slalom, and had a fourth-place finish in that discipline in Chamonix, France earlier this month.
He was 20th in giant slalom at the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018 and 26th in Vancouver in 2010.
Karen Price is a reporter from Pittsburgh who has covered Olympic and Paralympic sports for various publications. She is a freelance contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.