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With Third Gold, Ligety Joins Ski Legends

  • United States' Ted Ligety celebrates winning the gold medal after the men's giant slalom  at the Alpine skiing world championships in Schladming, Austria, Friday, Feb. 15, 2013. (AP Photo/Kerstin Joensson)

    United States' Ted Ligety celebrates winning the gold medal after the men's giant slalom at the Alpine skiing world championships in Schladming, Austria, Friday, Feb. 15, 2013. (AP Photo/Kerstin Joensson)

  • United States's Ted Ligety passes a gate on his way to win the men's giant slalom at the Alpine skiing world championships in Schladming, Austria, Friday, Feb.15, 2013. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)

    United States's Ted Ligety passes a gate on his way to win the men's giant slalom at the Alpine skiing world championships in Schladming, Austria, Friday, Feb.15, 2013. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)

  • FILE - In this Feb. 10, 1968 file photo, Jean-Claude Killy, of France, center, waves after winning the gold medal in the men's downhill race at the Winter Olympic Games in Chamrousse, France. Guy Perillat of France, right, won the silver medal and  Jean-Daniel Datwyler of Switzerland, left, won the bronze medal. Ted Ligety became the first man in 45 years to win three gold medals at a skiing world championships by blowing away the field in winning his favored giant slalom on Friday, Feb. 15, 2013 in Schladming, Austria. The American can match French great Jean-Claude Killy, who earned four golds in 1968, if he wins Sunday's slalom. (AP Photo/File)

    FILE - In this Feb. 10, 1968 file photo, Jean-Claude Killy, of France, center, waves after winning the gold medal in the men's downhill race at the Winter Olympic Games in Chamrousse, France. Guy Perillat of France, right, won the silver medal and Jean-Daniel Datwyler of Switzerland, left, won the bronze medal. Ted Ligety became the first man in 45 years to win three gold medals at a skiing world championships by blowing away the field in winning his favored giant slalom on Friday, Feb. 15, 2013 in Schladming, Austria. The American can match French great Jean-Claude Killy, who earned four golds in 1968, if he wins Sunday's slalom. (AP Photo/File)

  • FILE - In this Feb. 10, 1968 file photo, Jean-Claude Killy, of France, center, waves after winning the gold medal in the men's downhill race at the Winter Olympic Games in Chamrousse, France. Guy Perillat of France, right, won the silver medal and  Jean-Daniel Datwyler of Switzerland, left, won the bronze medal. Ted Ligety became the first man in 45 years to win three gold medals at a skiing world championships by blowing away the field in winning his favored giant slalom on Friday, Feb. 15, 2013 in Schladming, Austria. The American can match French great Jean-Claude Killy, who earned four golds in 1968, if he wins Sunday's slalom. (AP Photo/File)

    FILE - In this Feb. 10, 1968 file photo, Jean-Claude Killy, of France, center, waves after winning the gold medal in the men's downhill race at the Winter Olympic Games in Chamrousse, France. Guy Perillat of France, right, won the silver medal and Jean-Daniel Datwyler of Switzerland, left, won the bronze medal. Ted Ligety became the first man in 45 years to win three gold medals at a skiing world championships by blowing away the field in winning his favored giant slalom on Friday, Feb. 15, 2013 in Schladming, Austria. The American can match French great Jean-Claude Killy, who earned four golds in 1968, if he wins Sunday's slalom. (AP Photo/File)

  • Former Italian skier Alberto Tomba, left, interviews United States's Ted Ligety after Ligety won the gold medal of the men's giant slalom at the Alpine skiing world championships in Schladming, Austria, Friday, Feb.15,2013. (AP Photo/Matthias Schrader)

    Former Italian skier Alberto Tomba, left, interviews United States's Ted Ligety after Ligety won the gold medal of the men's giant slalom at the Alpine skiing world championships in Schladming, Austria, Friday, Feb.15,2013. (AP Photo/Matthias Schrader)

  • Former Italian skier Alberto Tomba, left, interviews United States's Ted Ligety after Ligety won the gold medal of the men's giant slalom at the Alpine skiing world championships in Schladming, Austria, Friday, Feb.15,2013. (AP Photo/Matthias Schrader)

    Former Italian skier Alberto Tomba, left, interviews United States's Ted Ligety after Ligety won the gold medal of the men's giant slalom at the Alpine skiing world championships in Schladming, Austria, Friday, Feb.15,2013. (AP Photo/Matthias Schrader)

  • United States' Ted Ligety celebrates winning the gold medal after the men's giant slalom  at the Alpine skiing world championships in Schladming, Austria, Friday, Feb. 15, 2013. (AP Photo/Kerstin Joensson)
  • United States's Ted Ligety passes a gate on his way to win the men's giant slalom at the Alpine skiing world championships in Schladming, Austria, Friday, Feb.15, 2013. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)
  • FILE - In this Feb. 10, 1968 file photo, Jean-Claude Killy, of France, center, waves after winning the gold medal in the men's downhill race at the Winter Olympic Games in Chamrousse, France. Guy Perillat of France, right, won the silver medal and  Jean-Daniel Datwyler of Switzerland, left, won the bronze medal. Ted Ligety became the first man in 45 years to win three gold medals at a skiing world championships by blowing away the field in winning his favored giant slalom on Friday, Feb. 15, 2013 in Schladming, Austria. The American can match French great Jean-Claude Killy, who earned four golds in 1968, if he wins Sunday's slalom. (AP Photo/File)
  • FILE - In this Feb. 10, 1968 file photo, Jean-Claude Killy, of France, center, waves after winning the gold medal in the men's downhill race at the Winter Olympic Games in Chamrousse, France. Guy Perillat of France, right, won the silver medal and  Jean-Daniel Datwyler of Switzerland, left, won the bronze medal. Ted Ligety became the first man in 45 years to win three gold medals at a skiing world championships by blowing away the field in winning his favored giant slalom on Friday, Feb. 15, 2013 in Schladming, Austria. The American can match French great Jean-Claude Killy, who earned four golds in 1968, if he wins Sunday's slalom. (AP Photo/File)
  • Former Italian skier Alberto Tomba, left, interviews United States's Ted Ligety after Ligety won the gold medal of the men's giant slalom at the Alpine skiing world championships in Schladming, Austria, Friday, Feb.15,2013. (AP Photo/Matthias Schrader)
  • Former Italian skier Alberto Tomba, left, interviews United States's Ted Ligety after Ligety won the gold medal of the men's giant slalom at the Alpine skiing world championships in Schladming, Austria, Friday, Feb.15,2013. (AP Photo/Matthias Schrader)

Schladming, Austria — Ted Ligety has joined some of skiing’s legends. And in doing so, the American catapulted himself into the sport’s biggest spotlight heading into next year’s Sochi Olympics.

By winning yesterday’s giant slalom by a massive margin, Ligety became the first man in 45 years to win three gold medals at a skiing world championships — since French great Jean-Claude Killy took home four golds in 1968.

“I still don’t think I recognize what I’ve done this week,” Ligety said. “It’s just been so phenomenal to win three gold medals, especially in two events that I hadn’t won in before.”

Ligety opened the championships last week by winning the super-G, then followed that up with gold in the super-combined Monday — both events he had never won on the World Cup circuit.

“That kind of added some pressure and expectations for today, because the giant slalom is really what I came here for and really wanted,” said Ligety, who won four of the five World Cup GS races this season. “It’s just been super, super surreal.”

Killy’s feat came on home snow in Grenoble in a year when the Winter Olympics doubled as the world championships. He swept gold in all three Olympic events — giant slalom, slalom and downhill — and was awarded another worlds gold for combined.

The only other three men to accomplish the feat were Emile Allais, the first great French skier, who won three events at the 1937 worlds in Chamonix, France; Norwegian pioneer Stein Eriksen, who took home three golds from the 1954 worlds in Are, Sweden; and Toni Sailer, one of the first great Austrian skiers who won four golds at the 1956 Olympics in Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy, which also doubled as worlds, and three at the 1958 worlds in Bad Gastein, Austria.

“To be among those names, to have three gold medals at world championships, is a really cool feeling,” Ligety said. “It’s not something I set out to accomplish.”

Ligety also probably didn’t intend to put himself in position as “the next big thing” heading into Sochi. But with Lindsey Vonn having had a season-ending crash in her opening event here and Bode Miller taking this season off to recover from left knee surgery, Ligety will almost surely be thrust into the role that Miller had for the 2006 Turin Games and that Vonn dealt with for the 2010 Vancouver Games.

NFL Football

Packers Cut Woodson

Charles Woodson is on the market.

The Green Bay Packers released the 36-year-old defensive back Friday with two years left on his contract.

The Packers clear about $10 million in cap space by releasing Woodson. Carl Poston, Woodson’s agent, said the veteran wasn’t done yet.

“The Packers told Charles they’re going in a different direction,” Poston said. “Charles told me he still wants to play — for a Super Bowl contender.”

Woodson signed a five-year deal before the 2010 season that was worth as much as $55 million. He missed nine games during the 2012 regular season because of a broken right collarbone and played in two postseason games for the Packers in his seventh year with the franchise.

Golf

2 Lead in L.A.

Los Angeles — A move down the California coast hasn’t changed a thing for Fredrik Jacobson.

One week after his best finish in more than a year, Jacobson birdied the two toughest holes at Riviera on his way to a 6-under 65 yesterday and a share of the lead with Sang-Moon Bae going into the weekend at the Northern Trust Open.

They were at 9-under 133, one shot clear of John Merrick (66) and John Rollins (65).

Women’s Australian Open

Canberra, Australia — Colombia’s Mariajo Uribe shot a 6-under 67 to take a one-stroke lead over 15-year-old amateur star Lydia Ko and South Korea’s Jiyai Shin after the second round of the LPGA Tour’s season-opening Women’s Australian Open.