Ligety was described as just a normal kid, nice and polite, not at all like the bodacious Bode.
"No," Ted offered in his post-race news conference, "I have not skied when I was drunk."
Ligety's parents had not thought to order champagne, just in case.
"Who would have guessed it?" Bill Ligety said. "We were just hoping he would get down the downhill in one piece."
The smartest people in ski racing didn't see this coming. McNichol, the men's coach, had gold-medal hopes for Ligety in the slalom, but the combined was a longshot.
With a few breaks, \o7maybe\f7 Ligety could squeeze out bronze.
"I thought he had medal potential, but not \o7gold\f7 medal," McNichol said.
Ligety was going to be groomed, eventually, as an all-event skier with a chance to shine at Vancouver.
Suddenly, with one victory, he has more gold medals than American stars Miller and Daron Rahlves have -- combined.
"I have no idea how it's going to change my life," the soft-spoken Ligety said. "So far, my life's been OK."
Ligety is only the fourth American male skier to win Olympic gold, joining Steve Mahre, Tommy Moe and Bill Johnson.
And now, with confidence brimming, he has to be considered one of the favorites in the men's slalom Feb. 25.
For American skiers, these Games started out being all about Bode.
They may end up being about Ted.
ALPINE SKIING, MEN'S COMBINED
* Ted Ligety, Park City, Utah
* Ivica Kostelic, Croatia
* Rainer Schoenfelder, Austria