2006_02_scombinedmens.jpgBode Miller was true to form yesterday as he failed to finish the slalom portion of the men's combined. The event combines the speed of the downhill with the technical expertise of the slalom. While Miller led the field after the downhill run by more than two seconds, it was the slalom that stymied him again. On the World Cup circuit this year, he has failed to finish all but one slalom race. Miller was disqualified after the first of two slalom runs for straddling a gate (one of his skis went on the wrong side of the gates that mark the turns). With Miller's disqualification, Austria's Benjamin Raich took the lead heading into the final trip down the slalom course.

Where Bode Miller could not succeed, 21 year-old Ted Ligety did. Ligety was in 32nd after the downhill portion of the event, had more than 3 seconds to make up, and had never won a major race in his life. His combined time on the slalom was 1:27.93 and his 2nd run of 43.84 seconds was the fastest slalom run all night. With his night complete, Ligety sat on top of the leader board with only two competitors remaining. Ivica Kostelic of Croatia came within 0.53 seconds of Ligety and won the silver medal. Benjamin Raich, who was a favorite to win a medal in the combined pushed too much in his final run and did not finish.

Ligety's gold medal was the first American men's gold in alpine skiing since Tommy Moe in 1994 and only the fourth gold medal for the men in Olympic history.

Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images via Torino2006.com