When the 2015 Alpine World Ski Championship came to end on Sunday in Beaver Creek, Colorado, the Americans contingent left with a haul of five medals. Ted Ligety (one gold, one bronze), Mikaela Shiffrin (one gold), Travis Ganong (one silver) and Lindsey Vonn (one bronze) all contributed to the USA’s performance, which tied the country's highest medal count.
The championships also might have brought an end to the career of legendary American skier Bode Miller, who gashed his leg in a crash and had been mulling retirement prior to the races. The 37-year-old suffered a torn hamstring tendon, which forced him to withdraw.
Ligety highlighted the American’s performance winning his gold in the giant slalom and the bronze in the super combined. Shiffrin won her gold in the slalom and Ganong won his silver in the downhill. Vonn, the winningest female World Cup circuit skier in history, was perhaps a bit disappointing in her bronze-winning performance in the super-G.
Shiffrin, a Vail native who called herself "half-bear," was seen taking a nap outside in the snow the day of her gold-winning run. The rest paid off as she repeated as world champion with another highly impressive performance. Ligety became the first man to win three giant slalom golds at the world championships, also taking home the top prize in 2011 and 2013.
The Americans didn’t come close to being the top team of the championships, however, even with the Colorado home-mountain advantage. Austria topped the medal count with nine wins (five gold, three silver, one bronze). The Americans did at least come away with sole possession of second place, while five other countries tied for third-most medals at three.
But Bode Miller's legacy on the sport might be the biggest takeaway from the tournament. The championships marked a return from back surgery for the New Hampshire native, who had already been considering retirement. A nasty crash and a gash to his leg might end Miller's career, one of the most successful in skiing history with six Olympic medals and four golds in the world championships.
The highlight of the championships belonged to Shiffrin, a burgeoning superstar who shined in her hometown. Here is a look at the 19-year-old's thrilling gold-medal run:
(video via NBC Universal)