Park City Beaming with Pride Over Ligety's Gold
February 15th, 2006 @ 5:05pm
Jed Boal Reporting

When Ted Ligety stormed from behind to win the Men's Combined skiing event in Torino, he became the first Utahn to capture Olympic gold in skiing. Park City Mountain Resort is glowing with pride, and coaches and friends are still buzzing with the excitement of his win.

Word that Ted Ligety won Olympic gold swept through Park City Mountain Resort like a blizzard yesterday. That achievement is just sinking in for Ted Ligety in Torino and for his friends at his home resort.

Ted Ligety, Olympic Combined Gold Medalist: "Yeah, I'm definitely surprised. The Combined is not my best event. It's definitely surprising to come out. I was looking forward to the slalom for my chances to medal."

Before he conquered the mountain, Ligety's Olympic dream started in the kiddie corral at Park City Mountain Resort. Karen Korfanta called his races when he was kid.

Karen Korfanta, PCMR Race Dept. Manager: "A couple years now, this community has been saying, 'watch out for Ted Ligety, watch out for Ted Ligety.'"

His proud coach with the Park City Ski team says Ligety put it all together this season.

Dave Galusha, Park City Ski Team Director: "If you rewind to three or four years ago to see where Ted Ligety was in the sport, to see him with a gold medal around his neck, it's amazing."

Alexa Perkiel started skiing with Ligety and his brother in grade school, and they were teammates through the years.

Alexa Perkiel, Friend: "I just liked being up on the slope watching him in slalom. He was the one everyone wanted to catch."

She's headed over to Torino and is certain the gold won't change Ligety at all.

Alexa Perkiel, Friend: "Knowing that he has it in him, but not really expecting things is probably the best part."

But he won't catch anyone by surprise ever again. His former coach says Ligety always had the determination and work ethic, but has now emerged as an innovator.

Dave Galusha: "He's not only at the top of the game as an ambassador, but as someone who's pushing the sport to a new level."

And he's five to ten years younger than most of his competition. He has two more races during the Olympics -- the Giant Slalom and the Slalom. You can bet Park City will be watching when he steps into the start house.