Back Issue Forces Ligety To Forego Farewell Race; Return Home
Following the announcement of his retirement after a golden 17-year career on February 9th, two-time Olympic champion Ted Ligety announced Saturday an earlier-than-expected return home due to an ongoing back issue less than a week late. He will forego his final race at the FIS Ski World Championships giant slalom on Friday, Feb. 19, and instead return home to Park City, Utah.
In a post on Instagram, Ted explained,
Can’t make this $h!+ up. Ligety Out!
I was excited to race one last time then retire on my own terms. To dig deep, throw down and see what would be possible. Perhaps conjure up some “vintage Ligety”. Unfortunately it was not to be, my back said I’m the boss and you are finished now.
Yesterday, I woke up to the worst sciatic pain of my life. I can’t point to anything that triggered it but I had been experiencing low grade sciatica for a week or two which was “normal” for me on occasion for the last several years. An MRI revealed my discs at L4-5 and L5-S1 are herniated to the point it’s not safe to ski right now.
For context, the last 6 years my back has been in control of my skiing. 4 years ago after years of therapy and numerous cortisone injections were to no avail I had surgery. The surgery was largely successful and greatly reduced my symptoms. But if I’m honest with myself my back was never the same again. Okay became good and bad became fine. I tricked myself into thinking it was good and could support the forces needed to win, clearly it could not.
Now it’s time to get my back healthy to support a lifetime of playing and skiing with my kids. Thank you everyone for your support.
Ligety will return home on Sunday to rest and recover and to spend time with his wife, Mia, three-year-old Jax, and six-month-old twins Will and Alec.