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2010 Winter Olympics: Park City's Ted Ligety confident after 5th-place finish in super combined slalom

Ted Ligety didn't earn a medal on Sunday, but his luck could change in the giant slalom.
Ted Ligety didn't earn a medal on Sunday, but his luck could change in the giant slalom.
Michael Kappeler, AFP/Getty Images

WHISTLER — There is no award for fifth place, but Park City's Ted Ligety wishes there was.

"Being fourth and fifth are really the least favorite positions to be in," said the 25-year-old who finished fifth in the Super Combined Slalom Sunday at Whistler Creekside.

His American teammate, Bode Miller, won the Gold medal (see story D1) with a time of 2:44.92 while Ted Ligety was fifth with a time of 2:45.82. American skiers Will Brandenburg was 11th with a time of 2:47.06, and Andrew Weibrecht was 12th with a time of 2:47.58.

"It's getting the wooden spoon, for sure," he said. "Too bad they don't award fourth place a wooden spoon in the Olympics. That'd be kind of cool."

Despite a disappointing finish, Ligety said his performance in the event which won him a gold medal four years ago gives him confidence for Thursday's super giant slalom. Sunday's race was one run on a downhill course — which favors those with raw speed — and one run on a slalom course —which is more technical and requires more turning.

That race is really his best event, one in which he won the World Cup title in 2007-08. He currently leads the World Cup rankings in the event.

"Giant Slalom is really my chance for a medal," he said. "I haven't been on the podium in combined and only one podium in super-G. To expect a medal in that was really a stretch."

Ligety is also happy to see the American's streak of medal winning in Alpine skiing continue. A man or woman has been on the podium in every event so far.

"It's pretty cool to continue the streak of U.S. medals," he said. "Super combined — which was altered to eliminate one of two slalom runs this year— is tailor made for Bode. It's been an awesome week for our team, and I am just hoping I can add to that."

He said skiing so close to home is an advantage for U.S. athletes.

"I think being in North America helps us a lot," he said. "It's similar food, similar conditions and the atmosphere is great."

e-mail: adonaldson@desnews.com