Speedy Svindal sets sights on gold

Tue Jan 21, 2014 11:52am EST
 
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By Philip O'Connor

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - With his scintillating form, Aksel Lund Svindal's combination of skill and mental strength make him the man to beat on the slopes in Sochi.

Arguably the fastest ski racer on the planet, there is no better preparation for an Olympic championship than racing fast going into the Games, the Norwegian downhill skier told the International Ski Federation website (www.fis-ski.com).

"For me, if I can ski fast in the World Cup, then I know I can ski fast in the Olympics," Svindal said.

His form this season has drawn praise across the board, prompting Kjetil Andre Aamodt, Norway's most-decorated ski racer, to declare: "He has been outstanding - all the rest are just extras."

The 31-year-old Svindal tops the World Cup rankings and few would bet against him adding to his Olympic haul of gold, silver and bronze from the Vancouver Games in 2010.

MENTAL STRENGTH

The genial Norwegian has amassed four World Cup victories so far this season, with his win in Bormio, Italy, in December providing a clue to his mental strength.

A year previously, he had lost out in the same event by just one hundredth of a second, finishing third behind joint winners Hannes Reichelt and Dominik Paris.   Continued...

 
Norway's Aksel Lund Svindal waits next to the famous Streif, the men's Alpine skiing downhill course at the Hahnenkamm mountain of the Austrian Alpine skiing resort of Kitzbuehel January 21, 2014. REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger