Ted Ligety laid down a truly Olympic performance Wednesday to earn the first-ever men's giant slalom gold medal for the USA. (Christophe Pallot/Getty Images)
Of the many dates with destiny during the Sochi Olympic Winter Games, few compared to the opportunity Ted Ligety had to take his GS dominance to the Olympic stage. No U.S man had ever won the Olympic GS. No American skier had won two Olympic gold medals. Ligety took care of that today, winning gold in the giant slalom in dominating fashion.
Ligety carved out a 0.93-second buffer after his first run at the sunny Rosa Khutor venue, and he was able to hold the lead through his inspired second run.
Ligety is now the second American in history to win two alpine gold medals after Wednesay's gold and his 2006 super combined gold. Andrea Mead Lawrence was the only other American to do so in Olso in 1952, when she won gold in slalom and giant slalom.
Tim Jitloff muscled through the challenging course to finish 15th in his very first Olympic appearance, while Jared Goldberg skied into 19th. Sochi super G bronze medalist Bode Miller finished 20th.
Mostly sunny skies and grippy snow created a great race for the athletes, although a few bumps in the steeper sections added the to the course difficulty.
Next, World Champion Mikaela Shiffrin and the women battle for the Olympic slalom title Friday.
Erik Bjornsen anchored Team USA with Simi Hamilton to ski into sixth place Wednesday during the men’s team sprint classic.
The women’s team, featuring Sophie Caldwell and anchor Kikkan Randall, finished eighth in the sprint classic.
The final cross country skiing events will be the women’s 30k freestyle race on Saturday and the men’s 50k freestyle race Sunday.
The women take their turn at the first-ever women’s Olympic halfpipe skiing final on Thursday night.
Team large hill competition is scheduled for Thursday.
The team includes Billy Demong, Bryan Fletcher, Taylor Fletcher and Todd Lodwick.
USA PGS athlete Justin Reiter failed to finish his run, but is expected to compete in parallel slalom.
LIVE STREAM Throughout the Games, every skiing and snowboarding event will be streamed LIVE on Stream.NBCOlympics.com and via the NBC Sports Live Extra mobile app (iPhone/iPad | Android).
NBC Live Streaming Schedule (all times EST) 3:30 a.m. – Men’s skicross finals 4:00 a.m. – Nordic combined (team large hill – 4x5km cross country) 7:30 a.m. - Women’s halfpipe skiing qualifications 10:30 a.m. – Women’s halfpipe skiing finals