GARMISCH-PARTENKIRCHEN, Germany Ted Ligety never would make light of an Olympic gold medal. He just finds his giant slalom world title more satisfying.
Heres the difference: When Ligety won the combined at the 2006 Torino Games he was relatively unknown. On Friday, he was without question the one to beat, having opened the season with three consecutive GS wins .
Its a lot tougher coming into a race or a championship knowing youre the big favorite, Ligety said. Ski racing isnt always a guarantee like some sports, and it makes it that much more difficult. So to win being the favorite is pretty gratifying.
Cyprien Richard of France won the silver medal, 0.08 seconds behind, and Philipp Schoerghofer of Austria took the bronze.
Bode Miller finished 12th.
Miller came to the world championships after having won three medals at last years Vancouver Olympics. He left empty after his four events in Germany, acknowledging hes lacking motivation and considering retirement.
Im still always fired up, and I always charge, but its not the same as it should be, Miller said. If youre racing World Cup and youre risking your health and everything, you should be in it 100 percent. If its not, then you have to have the discipline and maturity to say when, because you probably shouldnt be doing it.
Ligety placed ninth in GS and failed to finish his opening slalom run at the Olympics, with his best result fifth in the super-combined.
The Olympics were pretty disappointing, and I think that gave me a big motivation for this summer, Ligety said.
The U.S. coaching staff made a tactical change from the Olympics, sending Ligety to Reiteralm, Austria, for GS training during the middle of these championships.
He went and made sure his setup was dialed, head coach Sasha Rearick said.
The other thing was going out and putting down his skiing, which is skiing with confidence, and thats what he did (Friday), and thats what hes been doing, especially in those first three races of the year he didnt think, he just skied.