Alpine skiing: Svindal heads home after poor Games

Mon Feb 17, 2014 8:52am EST
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By Annika Breidthardt

ROSA KHUTOR, Russia (Reuters) - Norway's Aksel Lund Svindal is heading home on Tuesday without competing in his final two races at the Olympic Games after failing to win a medal despite dominating the World Cup season.

A spokesman for Norway's skiing association said Svindal, his country's flagbearer at the opening ceremony, was suffering from allergies and had made the decision after Monday's training.

The 31-year-old was expected to be one of the stand-out performers in Sochi having led the overall World Cup standings for much of the season and now lying second behind Austrian slalom specialist Marcel Hirscher.

But he failed to claim a medal in three races. He was fourth in the downhill, which he had been favorite to win, eighth equal in super combined and seventh in super-G. He will not compete in the Wednesday's giant slalom and Saturday's slalom, neither of which are his forte.

"His shape is not 100 percent, so the best idea is for him to go home and prepare for the rest of the World Cup," Espen Graff, spokesman for Norway's skiing association, said.

"He was prepared well enough to be a medalist in the super-G and the downhill. But he is suffering from some allergies and the doctors are trying to find out what the problem is."

The spokesman added that although Svindal was suffering from allergies similar to spring-time pollen issues, that was not the reason the 31-year old twice overall world champion struggled at the Games.

Svindal is one of a number of favorites who have under-performed in the Olympic Alpine skiing, including American Ted Ligety who has also failed to win a medal.   Continued...

Norway's Aksel Lund Svindal skis during the men's alpine skiing Super-G competition at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics at the Rosa Khutor Alpine Center February 16, 2014. REUTERS/Ruben Sprich