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article imageGold medalist Ted Ligety talks Smucker, skiing career, fatherhood Special

By Markos Papadatos     Nov 2, 2017 in Sports
Two-time Olympic gold medalist Ted Ligety chatted with Digital Journal about his partnership with J.M. Smucker Company, his future plans, fatherhood, and motivations. He also opened up about the digital transformation and impact of technology on skiing.
On his relationship with Smucker, Ligety said, "I'm really excited to be partnering with Smucker. I grew up eating PB&J every single day during school. My parents would drop me off at the hill and I would have a PB&J sandwich in my pocket that I would eat when I was just ripping around the mountains, so it's a natural fit. During the Olympic Winter Games, Smucker's will continue to fuel Team USA through #PBJ4TeamUSA, where fans can again show their support, and Smucker's will make a donation to help athletes achieve their Olympic dreams. Smucker's and Jif will donate $100,000 to the United States Olympic Committee to support future Team USA athletes. The hashtag will go live just before the Winter Games, and fans can spread the love for Team USA. Simply share a photo using #PBJ4TeamUSA showing your love for Team USA and America’s favorite sandwich, PB&J! I grew up eating PB&J, so it’s exciting for me be part of an effort that turns my passion -and all the personal meaning behind a PBJ sandwich- into support for Team USA!"
Ligety talks future plans and motivations
Regarding his plans for the future include, Ligety said, "Right now we are in Olympic season so that is the big goal, of course. I plan on ski racing for a few more years so that will be interesting and fun to see how much longer I can do it. I want to keep racing for as long as I feel healthy and still have a chance to win races. I don't know how long that is going to be but ski racing is an awesome job, so I plan on doing it for a little while longer."
When asked what motivates him each day, Ligety responded, "Skiing is the most fun job out there. It is super fun to be able to go out there and rip it up and push your limits and going fast, that makes it pretty easy to be motivated. When your stronger and in better fitness and all that, it’s easy to go fast, so that just closes the loop on trying to have more fun is when you work hard too."
Ligety talks two Olympic gold medals
Throughout his career, he won two Olympic gold medals, which was quite emotional for Ligety. "“I definitely got emotional when I won my gold medals," he admitted. "Both gold medals are two very different emotions in a way. My first one was my first time ever at an Olympics and I was just excited to be at the Olympics and I was not a favorite, so just pure jubilation. I couldn't believe that I actually won and it was amazing to achieve a lifetime dream at 21 years old. My parents were there at both of those, but at the first one they were just as stunned as I was, so to see their emotions was really cool. Standing on the podium, listening to the national anthem, I could actually see them in the first row, so that was really cool. Generally I’m not that emotional of a person, but was definitely feeling the emotions then."
Ligety continued, "The second gold medal, I was the big favorite, so total different scenario. I felt a ton of pressure entering the Games. In ski, racing the favorites generally don't win because there are so many factors and it is so easy to make mistakes in this sport that when you are the favorite, it is not any sort of guarantee that you can win a medal. To be able to win that was just a huge sigh of relief. I was super excited to be able to do it, but there was so much pressure on that event that it felt like a weight of my shoulders more so than the first one. I was super excited and my parents were there for that one as well. It's always neat to be able to share that experience with your friends and family."
The Olympian foresees Smucker impacting his new life as a father. "Being a father is really fun. I can't make my son a PB&J quite yet, he is a little too young, but PB&J is just a great snack, super packable, a great lunch. I have a strong connection with my family, and sometimes just a simple bite of PB&J is a flashback to my childhood when my dad would make me a Jif Crunchy, Smucker’s Red Raspberry Jam on a wheat bread sandwich every day for school – and I look forward to making that for my son one day. It’s something so easy and delicious! You can make them, throw it in your pocket, go on a hike, go skiing, go to school, it is just a great lunch to pack away and eat later," he explained.
Ligety talks digital transformation of skiing
On the impact of technology in skiing, he said, "There are a lot of different technologies available to help with training these days, whether it’s by capturing skiing in different ways through video, or by being able to measure G-forces and our speeds. Skiing at the end of the day is a gravity sport and you are just trying to go as fast as you can from point A to point B. It’s simple in that regard, but there are all these little tools to help us map out ways to help us to go faster."
Ligety continued, "Social media has definitely been a big change. When I first started as a professional athlete there wasn’t really social media, at least in the same way there is today. I think it’s a cool new way to interact with your fans and communicate and that’s neat in a since that it wasn’t possible to be able to share your voice with people as easily as you can now."
On his use of technology on a daily basis, Ligety said, "Everyone is using their phone on a daily basis and that is a pretty huge piece of technology. I try to capture my skiing in different perspectives as it helps to analyze my runs. The traditional camera gives a static angle as far as being able to see every single turn from a wide view, whereas a Go Pro can capture skiing in a way where you can really see the acceleration out of the turn differently than you would in a traditional camera. It's been efficient for us to combine both."
Advice for aspiring skiers
His advice for aspiring skiers is as follows: "My biggest advice would be to have fun and work hard. I think the two things go back on itself, so I think if you are working hard it is easier to go out there and ski at a high level or do whatever you're trying to do at a high level and that filters back into having more fun. If you want to reach the top you have to work hard, but having fun is a big piece of that."
Ligety defined the word success as "doing what you are loving and enjoying it, and being able to do it as your job."
For his fans, he concluded about Smucker, "I would like to say thank you to all my fans and it’s really cool to be a professional athlete. It's been a dream of mine since I was a little kid, and Smucker has been a part of my journey since I was a kid with making PB&J and skiing the mountain all day. Having a PB&J allowed me to be on the mountain all day long, open to close, and I didn’t have to take a lunch break, big in my development as a skier to go out on the mountain all day long and be able to refuel just with the PB&J in my pocket."
To learn more about Olympic gold medalist Ted Ligety, check out his official website and follow him on Twitter.
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