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Bode Miller, Ted Ligety go for gold in super combined, starting with downhill

2013 FIS Beaver Creek World Cup  - Men's Giant Slalom

in action during the 2013 Audi FIS Beaver Creek World Cup Men’s Giant Slalom race on December 8, 2013 in Beaver Creek, Colorado.

Doug Pensinger

Two of the biggest names in men’s alpine skiing aim for the podium on Friday, as Bode Miller and Ted Ligety gear up for the super combined. It all starts with the downhill portion, which kicks off at 1 a.m. ET. Here are both streams:

Men’s super combined downhill run: 1 a.m. ETCLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE

Men’s super combined slalom run: 6:30 a.m. ETCLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE

Miller, 36, won gold in the super combined in 2010. He’s faced trials and tribulations (and knee surgery) since then, yet he showed some serious flashes in men’s downhill training before struggling in the medal run itself at Sochi. He already has an outstanding legacy, but he could stand alone among U.S. Winter Olympians if he lands his sixth medal.

This is Miller’s fifth Olympic appearance.

Ligety on Miller

“Bode was one of my heroes growing up,” Ligety said. “It’s kind of fun to be on the U.S. Ski Team with him, going back and forth with him, for sure. He has me in the speed events and I have him more so in the tech events. The super-combined is kind of where our two skill sets converge.”

MORE: Inside Miller’s training

MORE: Miller wonders if he should have underwent eye surgery

While Miller is the elder statesman, Ligety is at or near his prime at 29. He won combined gold in 2006, but that’s his only Olympic medal in three appearances.

They also bare the contrast that - generally speaking - Ligety’s strengths lie most in technical aspects in the slalom while Miller may be best equipped to make gains in the speed-friendlier downhill. This Tale of the Tape from NBC’s Joe Battaglia summarizes Ligety’s technical skills well:

Hoping to close the gap on his childhood idol is Ligety, who, too, approaches skiing in an unconventional manner. He has earned the reputation for being perhaps the most technically-proficient skiers of all time through a seeming obsession with mastering ski technology, and the science of angles and turn radius. He has made it his mission to get more out of his equipment than his competitors, and has come up with a unique style for carving gates. His rounder approach forces him to begin the next turn while finishing the one before, an approach that has garnered him the nickname “Shred.”

MORE: Tale of the Tape

TODAY: Meet “Ted Shred”

This is not to say that the podium standings come down to Miller vs. Ligety by any means.

France’s Alexis Pinturault and Croatia’s Ivica Kostelic are among the favorites along with Ligety, while Miller might be a bit of an underdog at his age and with his injury history.

Still, there’s a chance we could see one or both of these prominent Americans on the podium Friday.

Follow James O’Brien @cyclelikesedins