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How Ted Ligety won Olympic gold: 'boot topping', max pressure in the fall-line

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Ted 'Shred' Ligety's sensational victory in the Olympic combination event was a classic show of full-on slalom skiing - he had emerged from the downhill in 32nd place.

"I just threw down whatever I had," Ligety told Austrian TV. "I knew I was trailing [Benni] Raich by eight-tenths and it would take everything to knock off a guy of that caliber. I don't know what to say. I'm absolutely ecstatic right now."

So ... what are Shred's special secrets?

These articles from US ski writers Bryon Friedman (Yahoo! Sports) and Nathaniel Vinton (Ski Racing) 'shred' some light on the slalom technique involved:

From Bryon Friedman's piece:
Quote:
After skiing well on the upper section, he ... was "boot topping" gates – coming so close that he was hitting them on the upper cuff of his ski boot.

Boot topping is often viewed as flirting with disaster, as it requires a significant amount of concentration and often leads to disqualification, which is what happened to Bode. But Ligety has all but mastered this technique and has been consistent all season.


From this interview with Nathaniel Vinton:
Quote:
The key to being fast is having the most pressure in the fall line and the least out of the fall line, so that’s pretty much what I work on constantly -- trying to eliminate all pressure out of the fall line. At the bottom of the turn you just want to have nothing there.

In that interview, Ligety also makes some interesting points on ski design and edges.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Not something that Miller has perfected but he skis like that as well, he is so close to the gate... Its win or bust...!!
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
More inside information on the Men's Combined, from Neil McQuoid, on the spot in San Sicario...
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 You need to Login to know who's really who.
You need to Login to know who's really who.
Ligety has the advantage over Miller of being able to concentrate purely on the technical events. If Ligety ever decides to challenge for the Overall World Cup, and spend more time training the speed events as well, he will discover (as Miller did) that he will lose a tiny amount of the split-second control needed to "boot-top" slalom gates, and it is likely that he will become less consistent in the technical events. It's an effect we have seen with all technical skiers who have "moved up" in the past, like Girardelli, Aamodt, Kjus, etc.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Martin Bell,

Thats a much better way of putting it
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