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Last Updated: Tuesday, 14 February 2006, 19:58 GMT
Dazzling Ligety wins alpine gold
Ted Ligety
Ligety's victory made up for the disqualification of Bode Miller
American Ted Ligety snatched gold in the men's combined skiing event with an electrifying slalom on Tuesday.

"Ligety Split" rocketed from third to first on his final run, finishing in a time of three minutes, 9.35 seconds.

The pressure was too much for the race leader Benjamin Raich who crashed out, while American Bode Miller was earlier disqualified in the first slalom run.

Croatian Ivica Kostelic took silver and Austrian Rainer Schoenfelder bronze, while Briton Noel Baxter finished 14th.

Ligety, making his Olympic debut at 21, was left shocked by his victory.

Obviously it's a drag but the downhill was good
Bode Miller

"Having the gold medal is something incredible," said Ligety afterwards.  "When I saw (Raich) ski out I just couldn't believe what was happening."

His victory was consolation for the US team, which had seen favourite Miller disqualified for straddling a gate.

Miller, 28, was leading after the morning downhill and was expected to take gold until television replays confirmed his mistake.

It was the second disappointment of the Games for Miller, who also missed out on the medals with fifth place in Sunday's downhill.

The only way to beat this course was to really attack it
Noel Baxter

The American - who still has three events to come - was typically upbeat, despite his disqualification.

"Obviously it's a drag but the downhill was good and I made it to the finish - that's at least half the battle for me," he said.

"It's not the first time I've hooked a tip. I've straddled probably more times than most people have finished slaloms."

Baxter was kept waiting for 20 minutes at the start of his morning downhill following a spectacular crash by an earlier competitor.

The delay seemed to affect his performance and he was back in 36th place going into the slalom.

But two quality runs saw the Scot roar back into contention and he finished in a time of three minutes, 12.79 seconds - 3.44 seconds behind Ligety.

"It was a good result and what I trained for," said Baxter. "There was a lot of pressure and it was a hard course but I thought I did well.

"I felt really solid all the way down and the only way to beat this course was to really attack it, because if you hold back that is when you start having problems."


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SEE ALSO
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