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Svindal proves age doesn’t matter as he becomes oldest man to win downhill title

UK Sport | Published:

The Norwegian admits Pyeongchang is probably his last Olympics.

Aksel Lund Svindal wrote his name in Winter Olympics history by becoming the oldest man to win the prestigious men’s downhill title on a Norwegian-dominated day at the Jeongseong Alpine Centre.

The 35-year-old Svindal led home his compatriot Kjetil Jansrud by 0.12 seconds while the pre-race favourite, double and reigning world champion Beat Feuz, had to settle for bronze.

Svindal already had one Olympic medal of each colour, all from the 2010 Vancouver Games, but it was feared his hopes of landing the Games’ blue riband title had gone after he finished fourth in Sochi.

Norway’s Aksel Lund Svindal en route to victory in the men's downhill at the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics
Norway’s Aksel Lund Svindal en route to victory in the men’s downhill at the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)

“The last Olympics didn’t go the way I hoped, and since then I have not had a single season that I have been able to finish without having some kind of surgery. This is the first time I have skied in February in about four years.

“I’m extremely happy. World Cup wins, I’ve been there a few times and know how it feels, but this is different. It is one of those things where you keep looking up the hill because I want to make sure it is real.”

Like Svindal, Jansrud, who won the super-g title in Sochi, also came into the race with three previous Olympic medals to his name. The 32-year-old made a strong start but slipped behind his compatriot’s time in the middle section.

Norway’s Kjetil Jansrud, silver, and Norway’s Aksel Lund Svindal, gold, celebrate during the flower ceremony for the men’s downhill at the 2018 Winter Olympics
Norway’s Kjetil Jansrud, silver, and Norway’s Aksel Lund Svindal, gold, celebrate during the flower ceremony for the men’s downhill at the 2018 Winter Olympics (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)

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Jansrud said: “Being a small team and having two out of three guys succeed and grabbing the top two spots is a pretty good percentage.

“Normally you can carry on until you are 36 or 37 but it’s all about your health and your mindset, if it’s fun and if you are fast naturally. Aksel can ski for many years to come and still be fast.”

Feuz finished 0.06 seconds behind Jansrud in third place, with Italy’s Dominik Paris and Thomas Dressen of Germany just missing out on the medals.

Austrian reigning champion Matthias Mayer was surprisingly off the pace, 1.21 seconds behind the winner.

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