He now has 15 World Cup wins behind him, but the planet’s best giant slalom ski racer doesn’t appear to have let it go to his head.
Ted Ligety, of Park City, told me in a phone interview last week that he’s not all that famous – particularly in America. It’s a refrain U.S. ski racers have been saying for decades.
Still, occasionally a Picabo Street will break through the nation’s consciousness.
“For sure, in the U.S. ski racing isn’t as big as in Europe,” Ligety said. “We go anonymous pretty easily. In Europe it’s definitely a bigger deal. It’s not too bad, but it’s definitely funny sometimes when kids and older people will ask for an autograph. It’s a neat feeling, but it’s surreal as well, something you never really get used to.”
Ligety said his success didn’t arrive too fast. He burst into view during the 2006 Winter Olympics and has been rising ever since.
“It was a dream come true. I was taken aback, I wasn’t expecting it that time around,” he said. “But it didn’t take away any of my motivation. I just keep going. I always looked up to the guys with a lot of success in a bunch of different events, so in a way (the Olympics) motivated me more, not wanting to be one of those one-hit wonders.”