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Olympic skiers hit slopes for men's super combined medals

Published On: Feb 14 2014 09:44:48 AM CST
Updated On: Feb 14 2014 10:25:15 AM CST
Ted Ligety, Olympics super combined, Sochi

Ruben Sprich/Reuters

Americans Ted Ligety and Bode Miller finished off the podium in Friday's super combined at the Winter Olympics.

Miller, who won gold in the event in 2010, finished in sixth place while Ligety, who won the event in his Olympic debut in 2006, finished 12th.

Swiss skier Sandro Viletta won the event, which combines scores from a downhill run and a slalom run, to claim his country's first-ever Olympic gold medal the event.

Silver went to Croatia's Ivica Kostelic, for his third straight Olympic silver medal in the event, and Italy's Christof Innerhofer won bronze. Innerhofer also won silver in the downhill earlier this week.

The only other American to finish the event was Jared Goldberg, who finished one spot ahead of Ligety in 11th place. American Andrew Weibrecht finished the downhill portion, but was one of 12 skiers who did not finish the challenging slalom course in poor snow conditions.

Ligety was seen as a medal favorite coming into the event and Miller was viewed as having an outside chance at a medal.

Miller already owned more Olympic medals than any other U.S. skier going into the Sochi Games and is trying to add to his total of five. Over the weekend he finished eighth in the downhill event, which was viewed as his strongest event.

Miller, who made his Olympic debut in 1998, first tasted Olympic success with silvers in giant slalom and super combined in 2002 in Salt Lake City. He famously flamed out at the 2006 Winter Olympics, but bounced back in 2010 with three medals -- a gold in super combined, a silver in super-G and a bronze in downhill.

A two-time overall World Cup champion in 2005 and 2008, Miller also is a four-time world champion.

After undergoing knee surgery in the spring of 2012, Miller skipped the entire 2013 skiing season to focus on getting healthy for his fifth -- and final -- Winter Olympics.

Besides the gold Ligety won in super combined in 2006, the 29-year-old Park City, Utah, native also competed in the giant slalom and the slalom in Turin, but failed to complete either event.

He failed to medal in 2010 in Vancouver, but later became the first man since 1968 to win three gold medals at a single world championships, topping the super-G, giant slalom and super combined in 2013.

That giant slalom world championship was the second of his career, after his first in 2011, and he also can lay claim to four World Cup championships in that event.

In fact, of his 21 World Cup event victories, only one came in the super combined, just last month in Wengen, Switzerland, while the other 20 all were giant slalom wins.

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