Top Norwegian skiers were ecstatic on Friday after winning World Cup races both in the alps and at home. Downhill racer Aksel Lund Svindal was among the most thrilled, even though he placed second, after nonetheless making a “dream comeback” at Val d’Isere.
Svindal didn’t win, placing second behind fellow Norwegian Kjetil Jansrud in the men’s Super-G, but it was an impressive performance. It’s only been 11 months since the 33-year-old Svindal crashed at Kitzbühel in January and suffered severe injuries that forced him out of action for the rest of the season.
For months it was unclear whether Svindal would be able to race again this season, but he removed all doubts on Friday. “This is what you only dream about,” Svindal told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) after the race. “I hadn’t expected this.”
Jansrud joked that he almost felt like he ruined the party by winning, “but I don’t have a bad conscience. It was impressive to watch Aksel.” Dominik Paris of Italy placed third.
On the cross-country trails back home in Lillehammer, Heidi Weng screamed with joy after winning her first World Cup in sprint. “Yes, I was a bit too glad,” she told NRK after winning just ahead of another Norwegian, Maiken Caspersen Fall. Hanna Falk of Sweden finished third.
Weng’s victory came at the beginning of a season marred by the doping case against their teammate Therese Johaug. She faces a controversial 14-month suspension and is already prevented from taking part in any competition or team training. Weng, Falla and other teammates told reporters on Thursday that they still aim to help Johaug in any way they legally can. Some have trained privately with Johaug and all intend to do the same in the off-season.