Svindal’s ski season shattered

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Norway’s top alpine skier Aksel Lund Svindal suddenly saw his upcoming professional skiing season literally torn apart over the weekend, after he tore is Achilles tendon during a pre-season training session. The affable Svindal kept smiling, though, even after surgery and learning that there was no way he’d be able to ski in the World Championships in February.

Aksel Lund Svindal is Norway's greatest downhill skiing star but now won't be able to take part in the upcoming season. PHOTO: Wikipedia

Aksel Lund Svindal is Norway’s greatest downhill skiing star but now won’t be able to take part in the upcoming season. PHOTO: Wikipedia

The shocking injury occurred during a round of football that followed a jogging session with the other members of the Norwegian national ski team in Austria. “I was just trying to keep the ball in the air,” Svindal claimed, when he could feel that something snapped.

Teammate Kjetil Jansrud said the whole team knew instantly that something was seriously wrong with Svindal, and that he was in pain. “Aksel was quick to say he thought it was his Achilles,” Jansrud.

The downhill skiing star, who has won the World Cup twice along with numerous Olympic and World Championship medals, was rushed to hospital in Innsbruck where Svindal said he received quick and good treatment. After only around five minutes of conversation, he wrote on his social media site, he was taken straight in for emergency surgery.

Such injuries take a long time to heal, though, and skiing and medical experts said Svindal, age 31, will definitely have to miss the World Championships this year and may be out for the entire season, due to start later this month. That’s a huge blow for Svindal and Norway, since he’s the country’s greatest international winter sports star. After a disappointing performance at the Olympics last spring, Svindal was hungry for revenge this season and was said to be in good shape.

Doctors said it will be at least three to four months until Svindal can ski again. His injury is also a loss for the team, since members call him their “gallion figure” who leads, shares experience and encourages the others. Svindal is one of the those athletes whom everyone genuinely likes, is always smiling and the proverbial good sport.

He has made spectacular comebacks from injury before, however, not least after an accident at Beaver Creek in 2007, and his coach said the skiing champ was already looking ahead. “He’s a tough guy, very strong mentally and on the offensive already,” said Norway’s skiing sports chief Claus Ryste. “That’s the kind of strengths he has, that have made him what he is.”

newsinenglish.no/Nina Berglund