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U.S ski star Ligety: Call me 'The King'

February 15, 2013 -- Updated 1818 GMT (0218 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Ted Ligety won his third gold of world championships at Schladming
  • U.S. star becomes first male skier in 45 years to win triple gold at a single world championship.
  • Austria's Marcel Hirscher claimed silver and Italy's Manfred Moelegg took brone

(CNN) -- It might not have been a royal procession, but Ted Ligety's tag as "King of Schladming'"is undeniable after he reigned supreme in Austria Friday.

The 28-year-old successfully defended his world giant slalom title to become the first male skier in 45 years to win triple gold at a single world championship.

Ligety has enjoyed a stellar week on the slopes, winning the opening super-G before claiming gold in the super-combined.

Having already won four of the five giant slalom events so far this season, Friday's victory was not so much of a surprise, but it catapults the U.S. star into the history books and crowns an outstanding past seven days.

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France's Marion Rolland won her first major race with a surprise victory in the women's downhill at the Alpine Ski World Championships in Schladming, Austria. France's Marion Rolland won her first major race with a surprise victory in the women's downhill at the Alpine Ski World Championships in Schladming, Austria.
Big upset in women's downhill
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How a ski is made

"If you want to call me the king of Schladming, that's cool with me," Ligety told reporters.

"It's been a crazy, unbelievable week and definitely far exceeded my expectations. To win three gold medals is awesome and it's a really cool feeling to join some of the legends of the sport.

"I'm super pumped. It's such a cool feeling and I'm glad to have got it.

"I don't know how easy it was. It was on the limit, and I took some risks, it was dark and bumpy.

"I heard the cheering in the finish area (when Hirscher briefly took the lead), but I didn't feel pressure. I had a 1.3 second lead."

Ligety joins esteemed company in winning three golds, equaling the achievement of Norway's Stein Eriksen who achieved the feat in 1954 and France's Emile Allais in 1937.

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Only Austria's Toni Sailer, who won four golds in 1956 and three in 1958 and France's Jean-Claude Killy, who also won four in 1968 sit above Ligety.

His three gold medals takes his career total to four, equalling Bode Miller's U.S. record, while allowing the American team to regain its place at the top of the medals table.

Ligety started the day in perfect fashion, clocking an electric first run to finish 1 minute 30 seconds clear of Norway's Aksel Lund Svindal.

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Putting ski tech to the test

The U.S. star then recorded a more conservative second run to come home in an aggregate time of 2 minutes 28.92 seconds, 0.81 seconds ahead of Austrian Marcel Hirscher, with Italian Manfred Moelgg claiming bronze at 1.75 seconds.

The home crowd had hoped for a first individual gold of the Championships, but a poor first run from Hirscher ruined any dreams of gold.

"It was definitely one of toughest races I've ever competed in," Hirscher told reporters.

"Yesterday I had back problems and at 2 a.m. this morning I was thinking about whether it made sense to compete.

"I was looking pretty bad today - a bad hair day! But I mobilised every energy in my body, it means a lot for me.

"The whole country's watching me; they want to see me winning. I've got a silver medal, it's perfect."

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Meanwhile, Svindal missed out on his third medal of the championships after taking gold in the downhill and bronze in the super-G.

"I feel like the guy who came in fourth place, not ideal but that's the way it is," he told reporters.

"I'm definitely not happy right now but I have a gold and a bronze and I was in the chase for a medal in all four races, so it could've been better, but right now I'm disappointed, but in an hour or two I'll be over it."

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