February 15, 2018 / 9:39 AM / a year ago

Alpine Skiing - Norway look to maintain super-G grip after downhill breakthrough

PYEONGCHANG, South Korea (Reuters) - No sooner had Aksel Lund Svindal ended Norway’s 70-year wait for an Olympic downhill champion on Thursday than he and team mate Kjetil Jansrud were turning their minds to maintaining their nation’s remarkable grip on the super-G title.

Alpine Skiing – Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics – Men’s Downhill – Jeongseon Alpine Centre - Pyeongchang, South Korea – February 15, 2018 - Aksel Lund Svindal of Norway reacts. REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach

Svindal won gold in the “other” speed event in Vancouver in 2010 with Jansrud, who finished second behind his compatriot in the downhill, making it four straight Olympic super-G titles for Norway by winning in Sochi.

The 35-year-old Svindal said that the medal ceremony on Thursday night would probably be the point at which he turned his mind to the super-G and that the adrenaline of winning the title would help carry him through the race.

“That moment, when you’re on the podium and they play the national anthem is almost a little bit of a sign,” he said.

“So while you enjoy the national anthem you start thinking of the race the next day. It’s like a trigger, ‘This is done, it was perfect, now let’s focus on tomorrow’.

“If we’ll be a little bit tired tomorrow, then I think that the energy you get from experiencing all of this will by far make up for all of that. I think this is the best preparation we can get for tomorrow.”

The super-G was moved back a day from the original calendar to Friday to make way for the rescheduled downhill and Thursday’s result will only have tightened the grip Jansrud held on the favourite’s tag.

Marcel Hirscher, who won the combined to claim his first Olympic gold on Tuesday, failed to make the cut for the Austrian team despite saying he was “90 percent” to go in the super-G in Pyeongchang.

The four Austrians who did, Vincent Kriechmayr, Max Franz, Matthias Mayer and Hannes Reichelt, could all be threats, as might Italian Dominik Paris.

Jansrud, though, is well clear at the top of the World Cup standings, with Svindal in second and the 32-year-old said he had plenty of experience in the World Cup of backing up the day after big races.

“This one’s going to be more special, definitely more emotion to it, everything is going to take a little more time but it’s all the same, we stick to the plan,” he said.

“When we’re done, we finish doping control, get a little rest and get the emotions under control again and then get on the bike.”

What to watch out for the men’s super-G

Editing by John O'Brien

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