Ligety quits last race of his career due to back problems By Reuters

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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Winner Ted Ligety of the USA holds his national flag during the flower ceremony for the men’s alpine ski giant slalom event at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games at the Rosa Khutor Alpine Center

(Reuters) – Two-time Olympic champion Ted Ligety, who planned to retire on his own terms after next week’s world alpine skiing championships, abruptly interrupted his career on Saturday due to a back problem. The 36-year-old American announced earlier this week that the giant slalom in Cortina D’Ampezzo, Italy, would be the last race of his career, but since then he has suffered what he described as the worst sciatic pain of his life. “I can’t point to anything that triggered it, but I had been experiencing low-grade sciatica for a week or two, which was ‘normal’ for me at times for the past few years,” Ligety wrote on Instagram. “An MRI revealed that my discs at L4-5 and L5-S1 are herniated to the point where it is not safe to ski at this time.” Ligety has five world championship gold medals, three in giant slalom in 2011, 2013 and 2015, as well as super-G and combined in 2013, and two bronzes. His triple gold in Schladming, Austria, in 2013 made him the first male skier to win three or more in a single championship since Jean-Claude Killy of France won four in 1968. The American’s last race was scheduled for Friday, But Ligety said her focus is now on getting her back healthy enough to endure a lifetime of playing and skiing with her children. “I was excited to race one last time and then retire on my own terms,” ​​Ligety said. “Unfortunately it wasn’t like that, my back said that I was the boss and you’re done.”

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