If you thought two gold medals was enough for Apline Skier Ted Ligety, think again. Hot off the Sochi courses, the 29-year-old athlete is already thinking about his next Olympic gold.
“I plan to continue to work hard, get better, hopefully win more medals and hopefully in four years win more gold medals,” he said.
We caught up with the gold medal skier about winning gold for the second time, the future of his career, and why he’s so grateful to have big-name sponsors supporting him: “I feel really lucky to be living the dream.”
On winning his second gold medal.
“I definitely think my second gold medal is more valuable to me than my first one; it was much harder fought. My first one was not totally a surprise, but more so a surprise than this one. My first time around I didn’t have any pressure, I was just trying to push myself, and I skied last and it just ended up working out and getting a gold medal. This time around I was a heavy favorite and had that pressure, especially after not competing as well as I may have liked in Vancouver. That kind of added that extra bit of pressure. This time around it was that much more special because I competed at that highest level when I was expected to.”
On celebrating his gold medal.
“So I was actually really lucky! I had a couple of my friends there, my parents there, my brother, my girlfriend was there. It was cool to see them and hug them in the finish area. After the race I ended up having to do a lot of media stuff, but I met up with my coaches, my friends, my family afterwards. We were able to hang out that night and celebrate a little bit, which was definitely nice to share that with all of my closest people.”
On life after winning gold.
“Life is actually more hectic [than before the Olympics]! I came straight from the Olympics to New York and I’ve been doing a lot of media stuff here and sponsor stuff, going to Boston for sponsor stuff, then I fly back to Europe and go back to racing for a couple weeks. The season is officially over at the end of March.”
On how he prepares for each race.
“I wouldn’t say I have a formalized pre-race routine. We’re traveling so much that every single place doesn’t necessarily have the same facilities or the ability to have a consistent routine in the morning. Some places won’t have enough snow to have a warm up hill or there’s so many different circumstances, so you have to be pretty flexible. I guess the only time I have a routine is before I go. Warming up I have some core activation, I think a little about the course before I go, get a course of work from my coaches and not think too much about the race until the last two minutes before I get out of the start gate.
“You just have to let your body do what it knows to do and get your head out of the way. Of course there’s tough parts, you have to think about tactics for certain parts of the race course and how to keep track of where you’re going. But for the most part you just use your body, go with the flow and naturally push yourself and not let your mind get too much in the way.”
On what he plans to do next.
“I still plan on racing for quite a while—at least through the next Olympics in Korea. I’m only 29-years-old, and 29 to 33 is kind of the peak years of ski racing, so I feel like I have a lot more years ahead of me and there’s a lot of golds that I want to achieve in the sports, so I plan to continue to work hard, get better, hopefully win more medals, hopefully in four years win more gold medals.”
On preparing for his next competition.
“I don’t think winning the gold will change my mindset. It’s an awesome goal to achieve and it’s such a dream come true, but at the same time I want to win every competition I go into. That’s not necessarily possible, but that’s my competitive mindset. Winning the gold medal definitely gives me confidence, but it doesn’t change my outlook that much. I’m still wanting to win a lot of races, it’s not making me complacent in any way whatsoever. I’m still looking forward to charging and pushing myself.”
His advice for young skiers.
“I think with any sport, especially skiing, I think it’s really important to have fun with what you’re doing. If you’re having fun doing what you want to do then I think it’s easy to work really hard. There’s no possible way to achieve what you want in any sport or anything unless you’re a really hard worker and know as part of that you should be having fun. Working hard and having fun is definitely key.”
On having sponsors like NyQuil and DayQuil.
“Having big sponsors like Proctor & Gamble, and like NyQuil and DayQuil is definitely beneficial. It’s definitely nice to have that kind of recognition from the major companies and I’m lucky to have a lot of other sponsors as well who have supported me for the last four years and allowed me to make a living too. It’s really special to be able to live the dream and make a living doing it.
“I feel really lucky to be living the dream. I’ve wanted to be a professional athlete from when I was 10 years old, and to be able to travel the world and do what I do is truly a dream come true. I just feel really lucky to have sponsors that support me through all of these years.”