Ted Ligety Wins Gold Medal for Team USA in Men’s Giant Slalom at Sochi Olympics: “It’s a Huge Relief”

Ted Ligety wins the gold medal in the Men's Giant Slalom
Ted Ligety won the gold medal for Team USA in the men's giant slalom event at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi on Feb. 19, and the alpine ski racer says it's a "huge relief." Christophe Pallot/Agence Zoom/Getty

Won the gold and made history! Ted Ligety was the first Team USA men's skier to take home the gold medal in the giant slalom event on Wednesday, Feb. 19 — and he couldn't be more relieved.

"The giant slalom I always knew was my bread and butter, so to get that one is a really, really big relief," Ligety, 29, told Matt Lauer on the Today show Thursday. The Park City, Utah native also competed at Sochi in the super combined downhill, super combined slalom and super-G.

"I just know I'm skiing well in giant slalom," Ligety explained. "I have really a lot of confidence in my ability. I don't have that same confidence, I guess, in those other events, and I just knew if I skied the way I know how to ski, if I didn't many any huge mistakes, that should equal a gold medal, and luckily it ended up working out that way."

Ligety previously won the gold medal at the 2006 Turin Games in the men's combined event. Winning the gold Wednesday made him the first U.S. alpine skier to win two gold medals in his career. The victory, however, hasn't fully sunk in yet.

"I think tonight when I get the medal actually in the medal ceremony, hear the national anthem and have it around my neck, it will sink in a little more," he explained. "Right now, it doesn't feel like a normal race, but it's hard to really explain how it feels. It's a huge relief, but it doesn't feel like an Olympic win until I get that medal."

Ligety has been skiing since he was 2 years old. "Growing up in Park City, the mountain was like my babysitter," he shared in Us Weekly's special Olympics bookazine. "My parents would drop off my brother and me, and we'd just ski all day."

For more on the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi — including personal stories from the Team USA athletes, and tons of photos — pick up Us Weekly's special Olympics bookazine!

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