Ted Ligety won his second Winter Olympics gold medal eight years after his first by powering to victory in the men's giant slalom.

Ligety, whose only triumph at the Games before Wednesday was in the combined at Turin 2006, was in a class of his own and laid the groundwork for his triumph with a first run that left him almost one second clear of the rest of the field.

The American overcame a couple of nervy moments in his final run to post an overall time of two minutes 45.29 seconds, which was enough to clinch top spot by 0.48secs ahead of runner-up Steve Missillier, whose fellow Frenchman Alexis Pinturault took bronze.

Ligety was the clear favourite heading into the event after winning the final pre-Games World Cup giant slalom race in St Moritz by 1.51secs.

He was delighted with his success as he added Olympic gold to his triumph at last year's world championship.

"This is my first gold medal since 2006, but it was easier back then - I was only 21 and I didn't have all that struggle before," he said.

"This is really awesome. This is the event I wanted the most. This is the event I have been putting so much pressure on myself to win, so to pull through is an awesome feeling."

"This is something I've been trying to do since I was a little kid. I've been skiing since I was two and seriously since I was 10."

The 29-year-old admitted his superb first run took much of the pressure off the second, despite him almost losing his footing at one point following a particularly tight turn.

"I feel really lucky I had such a good first run because I didn't have to take all the risks in the second run," he added.

Silver medallist Missillier was thrilled that two Frenchman earned a podium place in the same event.

"To be on the podium together with Alexis makes me very proud," he said. "This is perfect. It's a big dream. I never thought I could do this."

World Cup leader Marcel Hirscher placed fourth, with the Austrian finishing 0.94secs behind Ligety, while medal contenders Felix Neureuther and Thomas Fanara came eighth and ninth respectively.