This Norwegian Colossus, who stands 1.89m tall and weighs almost 100kg, has already seen it all in Alpine skiing – the fame of being the world’s number one in 2007 and 2009 and the world downhill champion in 2007, as well as the agony of a major injury and a long time spent in hospital followed by physiotherapy, after a terrible fall at the start of the winter 2008 season in Beaver Creek (USA), which stopped him from skiing for almost a year.
His first Olympic experience was in Turin in 2006. Aksel left the Games without a medal round his neck, but happy with his performances, with good fifth and sixth places in the shadow of another giant, his compatriot, Aamodt. That year, he won his first World Cup races in Åre (SWE) and Lake Louise (CAN), in downhill and Super G. Svindal is an all-round skier who is extremely reliable, capable of skiing quickly and winning in downhill, Super G, giant slalom and combined. At the age of 28, he can be proud to have 13 World Cup victories under his belt.
His 2010 season started well, with podiums in Beaver Creek, on the track where he had had such a bad fall, and a victory in Val Gardena (ITA). He needed only a little spark to be up there alongside the aces, Austria’s Raich and Switzerland’s Cuche and Janka. At the Vancouver Games, he justified all the hopes placed in him by finishing second in the downhill, then dominating the Super G, winning his first Olympic title. In the lead after the speed heat of the super combined, he did not finish the slalom, straddling a pole not far from the finish line. He let go of his chance for a third medal in three races. But it was only a raincheck. In the giant slalom, he finished third in the first heat and, despite a humiliating eighth place in the second run, Aksel Lund Svindal was far enough ahead of his opponents to win bronze. A medal in every metal rewarded this powerful athlete with a will of steel that has never failed him.