Alpine skier Ligety moves up retirement after 'worst sciatic pain of my life'

American Ted Ligety was going to retire Feb. 19 after the giant slalom at the skiing world championships but woke up to severe back pain Friday and announced on Instagram a day later a scan revealed his back was "herniated to the point it's not safe to ski right now."

2-time U.S. Olympic champ won't race Feb. 19 giant slalom at world championships

Two-time U.S. Olympic champion Ted Ligety has been forced to retire ahead of his planned final race in a Feb. 19 giant slalom at world championships due to back pain. (Francis Bompard/Agence Zoom/Getty Images)

Olympic skiing champion Ted Ligety's career ended six days earlier than planned.

The two-time Olympic champ was going to retire next Friday after the giant slalom at the skiing world championships.

But he woke up to severe back pain on Friday and announced on Instagram on Saturday that a scan revealed his back was "herniated to the point it's not safe to ski right now."

Next to his post, Ligety included what appeared to be an image of his back bones.

The American is going home and will not race in Cortina.

"Now it's time to get my back healthy to support a lifetime of playing and skiing with my kids," Ligety said.

5 world titles

"I was excited to race one last time then retire on my own terms. Unfortunately, it was not to be, my back said I'm the boss and you are finished now. … Yesterday, I woke up to the worst sciatic pain of my life.

"I can't point to anything that triggered it, but I had been experiencing low grade sciatica for a week or two."

Ligety won the combined at the 2006 Turin Olympics and the giant slalom at the 2014 Sochi Olympics. He also claimed five world titles and was for many years the premier giant slalom skier.

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