Ted Ligety hoists the Soelden trophy for the second time in his career after a record 2.75 second victory in 2012 (Getty Images/AFP - Samuel Kubani)
SOELDEN, Austria (Oct. 23) – Ted Ligety (Park City, UT), who has won the Audi FIS Alpine World Cup opening race the last two seasons, highlights a group of nine U.S. athletes expected to start the 20th running of the Soelden giant slalom Oct. 26-27. Joining Ligety, who won by a staggering 2.75 second margin in 2012, are Olympic gold medalists Bode Miller (Franconia, NH), Julia Mancuso (Squaw Valley, CA) and slalom World Champion Mikeala Shiffrin (Eagle-Vail, CO). It will be the first World Cup start for Miller since February of 2012.
Four-time World Cup overall champion Lindsey Vonn (Vail, CO) trained at the U.S. Ski Team’s European Training base earlier in the week, but will not to start. The Olympic gold medalist and six-time downhill champion will return to the U.S. to continue training after a knee injury ended her 2013 season in February. She anticipates returning to the World Cup tour during the Nov. 29-Dec. 1 stop in Beaver Creek, CO – home of the 2015 FIS Alpine Ski World Championships.
Two-time giant slalom world champion Ted Ligety (Park City, UT) will seek to win the tour’s opening race for the third straight season.
Ligety won the opening race by an incredible 2.75 second margin last season en route to the fourth World Cup giant slalom title of his career.
Bode Miller (Franconia, NH), Julia Mancuso (Squaw Valley, CA) and Mikaela Shiffrin (Eagle-Vail, CO) are also slated to start. It will be the first World Cup start for Miller since February of 2012.
Lindsey Vonn (Vail, CO) will not start in favor of continuing to train in Colorado. She anticipates returning to competition Nov. 29 in Beaver Creek, CO during the 2015 World Championships test events.
It will be the 20th season that Soelden, the European home base of the U.S. Ski Team, has hosted World Cup racing on the Rettenbach glacier. The weekend opens with a women’s giant slalom on Saturday, followed by men on Sunday.
Universal Sports Network will air both races live online and on TV starting at 6:30 a.m. ET on Saturday and at 7:30 a.m. ET Sunday.
QUOTES Lindsey Vonn While I physically feel great, I have decided to not race this weekend and instead will focus on returning in Beaver Creek. I am confident the extra month of training will ultimately put me in the best position to have a successful season.
Ted Ligety Soelden is an incredible place to start the season. Fortunately we’re always able to get some good training on the glacier leading up to the weekend and it’s a hill I feel comfortable on. I have a good chance to win again, but I guess we’ll see on Sunday.
Bode Miller My physical preparation is probably the best it’s been in a long time. In taking a year away from the World Cup, I’ve been able to let my knee heal completely. I’m ready to return to the World Cup on a hill where I had one of the first wins of my career.
TV COVERAGE Universal Sports Network will present extensive multi-platform coverage of the 2014 Audi FIS Alpine World Cup season both on air and at universalsports.com. Television coverage begins this Saturday, Oct. 26 at 6 a.m. ET with a season preview show followed by live coverage from Soelden at 6:30 a.m. ET of the women’s giant slalom. Live coverage continues on Sunday, Oct. 27 at 7:30 a.m. ET with the men’s giant slalom.