Aksel Lund Svindal first man to win gold at four successive world championships
Norwegian triumphs in prestigious downhill to reclaim title he also won back in 2007
He bounces back from third in super-G, where teammate Kjetil Jansrud was injured
Italy's World Cup downhill leader Dominik Paris is second, with David Poisson third
Aksel Lund Svindal thanked his injured teammate after reclaiming his downhill title and making history at the Alpine Skiing World Championships in Austria on Saturday.
Svindal is the only Norwegian male still competing at Schladming after Kjetil Jansrud was ruled out for the rest of this season when he suffered a serious knee injury in Wednesday’s super-G event.
Svindal was disappointed to finish with bronze in that race, won by American Ted Ligety, but bounced back to become the first man to take golds in four consecutive world championships as he won back the title he claimed in 2007.
“Crossing the finish line, looking up to see your name at the top of the leaderboard in a finish area with 40,000 spectators. What a day!” the 30-year-old wrote on his blog afterwards.
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“The course was super tough. Pushing my limits the whole way down. I was more mentally than physically tired at the end. Thanks for all the support. I felt like the whole crowd was cheering for me, and there is no way they were all Norwegian.
“So thanks to Austrian fans for making everybody feel welcome. And thanks to my injured buddy Kjetil Jansrud for being a good travel partner on the road and a great training partner. Get that knee fixed and come back!”
Svindal won the fifth gold of his career and his eighth medal overall as he headed off Italy’s World Cup downhill standings leader Dominik Paris by almost half a second, with third-placed Frenchman David Poisson adrift by double that margin.
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“For the super-G I was the big favorite everyone was talking about, but in skiing you can’t just turn up and get your medal. The margins between ultimate success and ultimate failure are too small,” Svindal told reporters.
“I definitely wanted to win the super-G and I didn’t.”
Boisson, who has never finished on the podium at a World Cup event, claimed France’s first medal in the sport’s premier discipline since Luc Alphand also took bronze in 1996.
Home fans had to make do with fourth place as Klaus Kroll was the top Austrian finisher, with 2011 super-G runnerup Hannes Reichelt skiing out in the first of the two runs.
“I wanted to have a very good result but already did a mistake in the very beginning,” Kroll said. “I didn’t manage to bring down a perfect run at all.”