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Cochran-Siegle Leads Team USA in Giant Slalom

By U.S. Ski & Snowboard
February, 18 2018
Ryan Cochran-Siegle finished 11th to lead Team USA in giant slalom Sunday at Yongpyong Alpine Centre. (Getty Images - Al Bello)
Ryan Cochran-Siegle finished 11th to lead Team USA in giant slalom Sunday at Yongpyong Alpine Centre. (Getty Images - Al Bello)

Finally healthy following a couple seasons of injuries and setbacks, Ryan Cochran-Siegle once again led Team USA, finishing tied for 11th, in the giant slalom at the 2018 Olympic Winter Games Sunday. Ted Ligety (Park City, Utah), the defending Olympic gold medalist, was 15th.

 “I couldn’t have anticipated these results at all,” said Cochran-Siegle, who also led Team USA in super-G with a 15th-place finish. “I know that it’s the best in the world here, so to be able to perform and get these results is pretty outstanding for me. These were my career-best finishes in both events, so obviously when you go to the Olympics you want to perform at your best, but you also can’t really expect anything that you haven’t done before.”

Austria’s Marcel Hirscher absolutely blew away the field to win the gold medal, finishing more than a second ahead of silver medalist Henrick Kristoffersen of Norway. Alexis Pinturault of France claimed the bronze. Tommy Ford (Bend, Ore.) was 20th and Tim Jitloff (Reno. Nev.) did not complete his first run.

Competing in his best event, Ligety, a four-time Olympian and two-time gold medalist, struggled to keep pace on the first run.

“First run, I didn’t ski with anywhere the intensity, cleanliness and attack I needed to, and second run I tried to step it up but I just didn’t have the speed in me today,” Ligety said. "It’s an unfortunate day to have a bad day. I have been skiing with podium speed and feel like I was a potential medal contender, I just didn’t have it in me today.”

“I was disappointed that we did not step up and take the risks we needed to on the first run,” head coach Sasha Rearick said. “Second run – I’m proud of Ryan Cochran-Siegle – phenomenal job, a young guy who had his career best today.”

Cochran-Siegle posted the third-fastest second-run time and is part of a core group of up-and-coming skiers on the U.S. Ski Team. Ligety meanwhile, is a solid team veteran who just had a bad day at the office.

“In the world history of skiing, Ted has accomplished amazing things,” Rearick said. “Things that, I think, are unbelievable. He was able to stay at the top for so long, and today, why he is disappointed, is because we know there was a chance he could get close today and do it … I, for sure hope he carries on, he’s still got good gas in the tank, his body is feeling good, he’s got great experience.”

I’ll be 37 years old at the next Olympic Games, and that’s not out of the realm of possibility,” Ligety said of potentially going for his fifth Olympic team. “I know I’m for sure going to race next year, and we’ll see after that. When you have a family, there are other priorities in life than just ski racing. Jax (Ligety’s son) is seven months old, so he doesn’t really care how I did today – so that’ll be my reprieve on the day.”

Up next, the men compete in the slalom on Thursday. First run is scheduled for 10:15 a.m. KT / 8:15 p.m. EST Wednesday. The second run is scheduled to start at 1:45 p.m. KT / 11:45 p.m. EST Wednesday.

Men’s giant slalom