American ski legend Ted Ligety has begun his retirement after he was denied a final race at the Alpine Ski World Championships in Cortina d’Ampezzo due to a back injury.
The double Olympic Alpine skiing gold medallist announced his retirement at the start of this month.
He revealed he wanted to spend more time with his wife and three children, claiming spending a long time away from his family was “not really manageable anymore”.
The 36-year-old planned to compete for the last time in the men’s giant slalom at last week’s Alpine Ski World Championships, but was unable to do this after a long-term back injury worsened.
“I was excited to race one last time then retire on my own terms,” Ligety posted on social media.
“To dig deep, throw down and see what would be possible.
“Perhaps conjure up some ‘vintage Ligety’.
“Unfortunately it was not to be, my back said I’m the boss and you are finished now.”
Ligety, winner of the Alpine combined gold medal at Turin 2006 before claiming the Olympic giant slalom crown in Sochi eight years later, had originally planned to compete at next year’s Olympic Games in Beijing.
According to Reuters, Ligety will now spend his retirement creating skiing content with his sponsors, building the protective ski and snowboard gear company he co-founded, and assisting with a potential bid from Salt Lake City for the 2030 Winter Olympic Games.
He revealed he did not want to enter coaching.
“It is a slog and it is brutal and because all those reasons I could never see myself doing that,” Ligety said.
“I couldn’t do what they do because they do all the hard parts we do as a ski racer but none of the fun parts.”
Up until last week, Ligety had been the most successful American at the Alpine World Championships with five gold medals.
He was overtaken by Mikaela Shiffrin, however, who clinched her sixth world gold medal in the women’s Alpine combined.
Ligety achieved 24 World Cup victories during his career and earned the giant slalom crystal globe in 2008, 2010, 2011, 2013 and 2014.