Svindal credits others for comeback

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Norwegian skiing star Aksel Lund Svindal hasn’t been having the gold-medal-drenched season his fans had expected, but now he’s roared back onto the winners’ platform, flashing his characteristic smile and reviving hopes for more medals.

Aksel Lund Svindal was all smiles after winning gold at the World Championships on Monday. PHOTO: First Securities/Norges Skiforbund

After failing to win either the downhill or super giant slalom, Svindal finally made good by winning the combined event at the Alpine World Ski Championships in Garmisch-Partenkirchen on Monday. It marked the 50th World Championship won by a Norwegian, and generated great praise

“I believed in Aksel, of course, but got scared when I saw (rival skier Christof) Innerhofer ski,” said the star’s father Bjørn Svindal. “But then came Aksel, very stable and in control, and stepping on the gas in other parts.” Innerhofer himself agreed that Svindal made “a great run,” calling him “a really nice guy, so I’m glad he won.”

Always the gentleman, Svindal was quick to thank both his physiotherapist and his technician.

“They should have much of the glory,” the gold medal winner told newspaper Aftenposten. He was referring to Gudbrand Smith-Erichsen, who prepares his skiing equipment, and joint spesialist Trond Reginiussen, who got him back into shape after the severe beating Svindal took after falling during Saturday’s downhill event.

Smith-Erichsen was not at Svindal’s press conference. “Smitty’s probably down in the basement working already,” the winner told Aftenposten, referring to preparations for Friday’s giant slalom.

Smith-Erichsen got hold of new skis for Svindal on Monday. “The ones I crashed with at the finish were damaged, so he’s working on a pair of brand new skis. That’s risky, but the others were ruined,” Svindal told Aftenposten.

After performing an almost perfect downhill event, he outpaced the bronze winner, Christof Innerhofer, by more than a second. Initially the Italians protested, thinking that the timer was wrong, but relented when they saw the action replay.

“Aksel did everthing right,” Kjetil André Aamodt, commentator and former alpine champion, told Aftenposten. “Coming back from lying in a heap of billboards after the downhill and being back on top two days later, took a strong effort. It shows what an athlete he is. And there might well be another gold coming in the giant slalom.”

Views and News from Norway/Sven Goll
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