The AT50: Alpine Ace Ted Ligety (#12)
Sports: Alpine skiing
Highlights: Olympic gold medalist in super combined (2006); 4-time World Cup season champion in giant slalom (2008, 2010, 2011, 2013); 2-time giant slalom world champion (2011, 2013); 4th man in history/1st in 45 years to win at least three gold medals (super-G, super combined, giant slalom) in a world ski championships
Quote: "I'm not just skiing with confidence, I'm skiing with certainty—knowing what I can do on the snow and in a race course."
Fact: Ligety still lives in Park City, Utah, where he grew up.
AT50 Point Total: 45.5
You could say that Ted Ligety was destined for skiing greatness from the beginning. He grew up in the resort-rich powder country of Utah's Wasatch Range, where he began his skiing tutelage at the age of 2. By 10, he was racing with a local team. Next, he went to the Winter Sports School, a college prep school that organizes its academic calendar around snow and serves as a feeder program for national teams in skiing, snowboarding, bobsledding and figure skating, among others. After several notable placements—including a slalom silver at the 2004 Junior World Championships—Ligety joined the U.S. Ski Team when he was 18. Two years later, he won gold in the the Super Combined at the 2006 Olympic Games.
All of that paved the way for his rare and spectacular ride into history at this year's World Cup Championships. After surprise victories in the super-G and super combined, Ligety settled into his groove and rocked the competition in the giant slalom by a massive 0.81-second margin. By doing so, he became the first man in 45 years—since legendary French skier Jean-Claude Killy won four in 1968—to win three gold medals at a world ski championships. It was an impressive display of skiing dominance, and secured his place as one of the top skiers of all time.