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Ligety 9th, Miller crashes as Reichelt wins Worlds super-G

February 5, 2015, 5:44 pm
Ted Ligety super-G

Ted Ligety pulls out a ninth-place finish at the World Championships super-G at Beaver Creek (Getty Images-AFP/Fabrice Coffrini).

Story update at 9 p.m.: Bode Miller is officially out of the World Championships. He underwent surgery to repair a hamstring tendon in his right leg that was torn by a ski edge when he crashed on Thursday in the men’s super-G. Miller tweeted: “Out of a successful surgery for a severed hamstring tendon. Feeling lucky since things could have been way worse. Thanks to my friends over at for taking care of me.”

BEAVER CREEK, Colo. — Many of the racers at the Alpine World Ski Championships Thursday said all the new snow on Beaver Creek’s Birds of Prey super-G course was “super-soft” under cloudless 50-degree skies – unless you crashed on it going 60 mph like Bode Miller.

Miller’s comeback from back surgery this fall ended on a section of the course called the Abyss when he hit a gate, spun around and rag-dolled down the mountain. The six-time Olympic medalist was left with a nasty gash on his calf, a bruised body and questions marks about competing in Saturday’s downhill – an event he’s won here three times.

Bode Miller crash

Bode Miller crashed in Thursday’s super-G. He’s being evaluated by U.S. Ski Team medical staff (Getty Images-AFP/Don Emmert).

Austria’s Hannes Reichelt wound up winning the event, followed by a career-best second from Canadian Dustin Cook and France’s Adrien Theaux in third.

Travis Ganong, a rising star from California who landed his first career World Cup win this season, skied out earlier in the race and tried to warn his fellow Americans about the soft snow, urging less abrupt turns. Miller must have listened. He was in the lead and charging hard for the finish when he crashed.

“He was having an amazing run, he was going for a medal, he was back,” Ganong said. “He was pushing harder than I’ve seen him push all year and it was working, but he just got a little unlucky, that little push into that gate caught his arm and that was it.”

Both Ted Ligety, who had the top American finish in ninth, and Miller are seeking an American men’s record sixth World Championship medal. Medical staff are evaluating Miller to see if he’ll have a chance at it in Saturday’s downhill, which starts at 11 a.m. and is free and open to the public.

“He said his whole body really hurt and he said he felt like he got hit by a truck,” Ganong said of Miller. “He has this huge laceration on his calf, and he told me he needs like a hundred stitches probably. It’s a big cut.

“Hopefully with the good medical facilities here in Vail and the good medical staff on our team, he’ll get patched up and, it’s going to be tough for him, but hopefully he’ll be back for the downhill.”

Dominant speed-skiing Norwegian Kjetil Jansrud also took a trip to the Vail Valley Medical Center after banging his shoulder hard into a gate while still finishing fourth. He too is being evaluated in hopes he can race in Saturday’s downhill.

His countryman, eight-time World Championship medalist Aksel Lund Svindal, coming back from an Achilles injury earlier this season, wowed the crowd with a sixth-place result. Svindal has won at Beaver Creek many times, but also had terrible luck in a training crash here that sent him to the Vail hospital in 2007.

Canada’s Cook has never won a regular-season World Cup but now can boast of a World Championship silver medal.

“I’m a lot less surprised than most people,” Cook told the FIS. “I’ve had fast splits all year and I love this hill. I ski here all the time, it’s basically home. I really wanted to put one down and it worked out.”

Ligety, a two-time Olympic gold medalist, said soft conditions don’t favor a lighter, more technical racer like him.

“I felt like I skied pretty well,” Ligety said. “I was one of the faster guys on the top set, which is more the kind of section I could ski faster — the section that’s more similar to [giant slalom]. I’m happy with that. When I weigh 30 pounds less than my competitors, I’m going to lose a ton of time on flat sections, especially when it’s soft snow. If it’s ice, I can stay close.”

The Americans are all hoping for a firmer, icier course on Saturday.

“Today, the guys charged and attacked,” U.S. men’s head coach Sasha Rearick said. “They were going for it; they were focused. We have a lot to learn from the day and I’m looking forward to putting those together and getting ready for the downhill.”

Rearick said Miller was turning in one of trademark daring runs when it all went so wrong.

“Bode was skiing outstanding.” Rearick said. “He was going for it, absolutely sending it from top to bottom. He took risks and was putting down the run that inspires America and the world.

“Unfortunately, in the Abyss, he caught his arm on the gate. It spun him around and he took a really nasty crash. I hope we see him race again. We’re waiting for evaluations. He’s presently at Vail Valley Medical Center.”

Lindsey Vonn, already an American record six-time World Championship medalist, will look to get her seventh Friday in the women’s downhill. She’s also hoping to improve on the bronze she claimed in Tuesday’s super-G. The downhill starts at 11 a.m. and is free and open to the public. Go to the vailbeavercreek2015.com for more information.

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David O. Williams

Managing Editor at RealVail
David O. Williams is the editor and co-founder of RealVail.com and has had his awarding-winning work (see About Us) published in more than 75 newspapers and magazines around the world, including 5280 Magazine, American Way Magazine (American Airlines), the Anchorage Daily News (Alaska), the Anchorage Daily Press (Alaska), Aspen Daily News, Aspen Journalism, the Aspen Times, Beaver Creek Magazine, the Boulder Daily Camera, the Casper Star Tribune (Wyoming), the Chicago Tribune, Colorado Central Magazine, the Colorado Independent (formerly Colorado Confidential), Colorado Newsline, Colorado Politics (formerly the Colorado Statesman), Colorado Public News, the Colorado Springs Gazette, the Colorado Springs Independent, the Colorado Statesman (now Colorado Politics), the Colorado Times Recorder, the Cortez Journal, the Craig Daily Press, the Curry Coastal Pilot (Oregon), the Daily Trail (Vail), the Del Norte Triplicate (California), the Denver Daily News, the Denver Gazette, the Denver Post, the Durango Herald, the Eagle Valley Enterprise, the Eastside Journal (Bellevue, Washington), ESPN.com, Explore Big Sky (Mont.), the Fort Morgan Times (Colorado), the Glenwood Springs Post-Independent, the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel, the Greeley Tribune, the Huffington Post, the King County Journal (Seattle, Washington), the Kingman Daily Miner (Arizona), KUNC.org (northern Colorado), LA Weekly, the Las Vegas Sun, the Leadville Herald-Democrat, the London Daily Mirror, the Moab Times Independent (Utah), the Montgomery Journal (Maryland), the Montrose Daily Press, The New York Times, the Parent’s Handbook, Peaks Magazine (now Epic Life), People Magazine, Powder Magazine, the Pueblo Chieftain, PT Magazine, the Rio Blanco Herald Times (Colorado), Rocky Mountain Golf Magazine, the Rocky Mountain News, RouteFifty.com (formerly Government Executive State and Local), the Salt Lake Tribune, SKI Magazine, Ski Area Management, SKIING Magazine, the Sky-Hi News, the Steamboat Pilot & Today, the Sterling Journal Advocate (Colorado), the Summit Daily News, United Hemispheres (United Airlines), Vail/Beaver Creek Magazine, Vail en Español, Vail Health Magazine, Vail Valley Magazine, the Vail Daily, the Vail Trail, Westword (Denver), Writers on the Range and the Wyoming Tribune Eagle. Williams is also the founder, publisher and editor of RealVail.com and RockyMountainPost.com.

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