$0.02: No. 3 Ligety looking like medal threat
Hey you, Joe SkiRacingFan, ever heard of Ted Ligety? Yeah, yeah. He’s one of the kids who will take over for Bode Miller and Daron Rahlves once they retire. He’ll have his day; he’ll lead the U.S. someyear.Well, what if I said that, by the numbers alone, Ted Ligety is as much a threat to win an Olympic medal in the men’s slalom race as Bode Miller is a threat to win one in any race? Hogwash, I agree. Ligety, Schmigety. Except this: Ted Ligety, 21, ranks higher in slalom than Miller does in any of his five disciplines on the World Cup circuit. The kid is third in the world in the event that demands more turning precision than any other. And heck, if he hadn’t straddled a gate and been disqualified from Tuesday’s night slalom in Austria – after posting the fastest first-run time – he may well rank second.
The No. 1 skier in the discipline, of course, is Italy’s Giorgio Rocca. Rocca, sliced from the same bread of late as the incomparable Italian Alberto Tomba, won the first five slaloms of the year before straddling a gate of his own Tuesday. Finland’s Kalle Palander – Tuesday’s winner – ranks second in the season standings.So what gives here? Why has Ligety been able to ski so well under the radar? It seems the answer is right there in that sentence. Or, put another way, it’s a good year to be young and fast on the U.S. Ski Team. All you have to do is ski. …I got a call from a riled-up Steelers fan late Sunday afternoon as he drove back from Invesco Field. “Jake the Snake?!” he barked. “He looked like a little garter! Nothing but a little garter snake! Put that in your two cents!”The guy has a point. And to borrow a line from Alanis Morissette, isn’t it ironic? One week after defeating the defending world champion Patriots, a game in which New England did everything it normally doesn’t do, the Broncos more or less matched their fallen foe’s feat.
Jake Plummer turned the ball over four times after playing better in that regard during the regular season than he ever had before. The Broncos defense, which lately had been stingier than a bum with a cheeseburger, surrendered 34 points and never appeared ready to play. And that running game, oh, that running game. Mike Anderson and Tatum Bell combined for just 67 yards on 14 carries, leaving the bread-n-butter unbuttered and stale. …$0.02 takes a week off next week, so I’ll throw out the Super Bowl pick in this edition. Never mind the 3-8 postseason record. Doesn’t matter now. Neither, I should point out (in less than covert fashion) does last year’s correct Super Bowl pick, which came within two points of the actual final score.Seriously, which of us all season long has believed in the Seahawks? Not yours truly, that’s for sure. But I do now, at least enough to pick ’em over Cowher’s Chin and his Steelers. Call me crazy. I think Seattle is going to take this underdog mentality one step further. The ‘Hawks will win 26-20, then we’ll forget about them all over again. …Don’t look now, but suddenly the Nuggets (24-19) lead the NBA’s Northwest Division by 2 1/2 games over Utah and Minnesota, both of which sit at .500. And the Avs, who were picked to suffer this season, have played their way to a surprising 27-19-3 mark.
Now if only the Rockies could find a way. …In parting, Terrell Owens in Denver? How about Terrell Owens in Steamboat? Or Terrell Owens in Libya? Actually, that last one may not be that bad an idea.Devon O’Neil can be contacted at (970) 668-3998, ext. 13630, or at email@example.com.
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