American Ligety storms to super-G world title

Updated 07 February 2013
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American Ligety storms to super-G world title

SCHLADMING, Austria: Ted Ligety produced a blistering finish yesterday to win the super-G at the world championships, his first career victory in the discipline.
The American took risks in the final section of the Planai course to win in 1 minute, 23.96 seconds.
Gauthier De Tessieres of France was 0.20 back in second. Aksel Lund Svindal of Norway, who won three of the four World Cup super-Gs this season, was another 0.02 back in third.
Defending champion Christof Innerhofer of Italy finished 1.09 off the pace.
“Today was unbelievable,” said Ligety, who was the 10th starter. “It was a nerve-wracking 30 minutes, waiting for all the favorites to come down. (To) finally see (Svindal) come down right behind me was a huge weight off my shoulders.”
Ligety made a super-G podium only once before, finishing second in a World Cup at Val d’Isere, France, in 2009. This season, he had finished fourth in two races.
“I am having a good year in super-G but I didn’t think this was possible,” Ligety said. “I thought I had a chance for a medal. I knew I had to take many risks at the bottom to have a chance. I tried not to slide and to ski as clean as possible.”
The gold is his second medal from a world championship. Two years ago, he won the giant slalom in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany.
It was the second medal in two days for the US ski team, one day after Julia Mancuso took third in the women’s super-G.
“Julia always does well at the big events,” Ligety said. “I knew I had a good chance myself today and it’s great to make a contribution to the success of the team.”
Lindsey Vonn crashed in Tuesday’s race, tearing knee ligaments that will keep her out for the rest of the season.
“It’s very sad for Lindsey because she was doing great but it didn’t matter for my race,” Ligety said. “You have to move on. I am sure she will be back next year. As a ski racer, you can’t let that affect you too much.”
Ligety trailed then-leader De Tessieres by 0.41 at the first intermediate time 30 seconds into his run. He reduced the deficit to 0.06 over the next 30 seconds and beat the Frenchman in the bottom section.
De Tessieres, whose best super-G result on the circuit was eighth, had not qualified for the French team but replaced Johan Clarey, who pulled out with a back injury on Sunday.
“It’s difficult to describe this week,” De Tessieres said. “I hadn’t qualified and got a phone call from the coach a couple of days ago and now I am here. I am so happy. It’s amazing, a crazy story.”
Several favorites led Ligety at the first split, including Austria’s Matthias Mayer, Italy’s Matteo Marsaglia and Innerhofer, and Svindal.
The course was set by Norway coach Tron Moger, who also placed the gates when Svindal won the super-G in Val Gardena, Italy, in December.
“It was tough,” Svindal said. “I took a lot of risks and had a small mistake at the end. The conditions were OK, but not ideal. With this (low) light, you don’t see the bumps. I am satisfied. Ted did just great. He would have had a great run with number 22 as well.”


Why even the #WengerOut brigade should lament Arsene Wenger's exit from Arsenal

Updated 21 April 2018
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Why even the #WengerOut brigade should lament Arsene Wenger's exit from Arsenal

  • The Frenchman revolutionised the game in England across all leagues, not just the Premier League.
  • After initial success he found the going tough in the second half of his reign, but will still go down as an all-time great.

Over the past few seasons it has been fashionable to view Arsene Wenger as some sort of figure of fun — a man living in the past, left behind by the modern game, but too stubborn to realize it.
In time, though, even the most ardent, frothing-at-the-mouth #WengerOut believer would have to agree that the Frenchman will go down not just as one of the best managers Arsenal have had, but also among the greatest in English club football.
As with any caricature, there is a hint of truth in the picture created, crude as it sometimes is. Yes, Wenger’s past few years at the Emirates have been painful to watch. Yes, he was stubborn when it came to both activity in the transfer market and belief in his methods and tactics. Yes, it is fair to say he leaves the club, on the pitch at least, in a bit of a mess. And, yes, he should have left two or three years ago.
But if there is one thing that any sane fan should remember about Wenger’s 22 years as Arsenal boss, it is this: He was a game-changer, a manager who oversaw not only a revolution of the Gunners, but also of the English game.
As soon as Wenger landed in England in 1996, he banished Arsenal’s Tuesday drinking club and munching of Mars bars — in their place came stretching sessions and broccoli. Hardly profound or radical in today’s game, but this was the era when change in English football invariably meant no pies and pints on a Friday night.
The technical, passing, possession football that is now the norm for any side with ambitions to remain in the Premier League, let alone win it, and the idea that eating vegetables rather than a tub of lard would help player performance, were brought in by Wenger alone.
He won the double in his first full season in charge, signed unheralded foreign talent such as Emmanuel Petit and Patrick Viera — who went on to become world-class players — and created teams that were a joy to watch, culminating with “The Invincibles” of 2003-04, who won the Premier League without losing a match.
The irony is that the one-time revolutionary ended up being viewed as a throwback, a stuck-in-the-mud anachronism; a manager who harked back to a time when playing with the owner’s chequebook was not seen as the only path to success and when paragraphs were favored over 140 characters.
And that perhaps explains why so many Arsenal fans seemingly wanted him gone: Wenger is not of the Twitter generation, of instant opinions for the 24-hour news agenda and of hype over humility. The man who was once seen as the future stuck to principles that were deemed as belonging to the past.
It is clear there is a lot of bad blood at the club — a ridiculous Facebook post by an Arsenal fan claimed Wenger’s announcement he was leaving made it the “greatest day in Arsenal’s history.”
But for all the bluster and nonsense, Wenger’s legacy will be that of “The Invincibles” — one of the greatest club sides of modern times; of beautiful football played at pace and with artistry; of being a decent, yet flawed, man who was never anything but articulate and courteous.
Having been in charge of Arsenal for 22 years, he is undoubtedly the last of a kind, and in the era of trigger-happy owners, short-term fixes and sensationalism over stability, that is something everyone, even the #WengerOut brigade, should lament.