Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Svindal Makes a Sweeping Comeback


As if there’d been any doubt, the opening speed weekend of the 2016 FIS World Cup made it clear: Aksel Lund Svindal is back, with vengeance. The Norwegian ski star scores back-to-back wins after 18 months off speed racing.
A two-time overall World Cup champion, an Olympic gold medallist and a five-time World Champion, the Norwegian missed the previous World Cup season after an Achilles injury in a fun football game forced him to have an operation followed by several months of rehab. Thanks to intricate FIS rules, he returned for just two races at the February World Champs in Vail-Beaver Creek, USA, only narrowly missing a medal in both the downhill and super-G events.
Last summer, Svindal’s sights were set on a racing comeback for the downhill in picturesque Lake Louise, Canada. By the time the season opened in Sölden in October, he had been off the World Cup racing slopes for more than 18 months and missing routine. But come Lake Louise, Svindal was ready.
Also known as the King of Lake Louise, Svindal knows the course in the Canadian Rockies like his back pockets and used that to his advantage, scoring back-to-back wins in the downhill on Saturday and the super-G on Sunday. Svindal now has a total of nine wins on that piste. The winning runs were not clean but luck was on his side, especially on Saturday, when he won by the narrowest of margins, or 0.01 seconds.
"I was definitively pushing harder than in the training runs so it wasn’t that clean, but that’s what happens when you are racing, you have to see where the limits are. I made a couple of mistakes that I thought would cost me more; luckily I was carrying good speed. I was a little bit surprised when I crossed the finish line, but it doesn’t matter as long as it is green".
After winning on Saturday, the Norwegian also led Sunday’s super-G.
"It feels perfect. I was hoping I would be fast, maybe good enough to win races, but winning both, that’s different, so I’m super happy. To ski fast builds confidence. It’s been a really good weekend in Lake Louise and if I can keep going like this, which doesn’t necessarily mean winning but fighting for the wins, that’s all I can ask for".
The World Cup now moves to the US Rockies in Beaver Creek, where Svindal has collected 11 podium finishes so far.



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