In 1991 Kjus crashed during training, tearing the nerve to his left deltoid muscle. To regain the use of his left arm, he had to train the surrounding muscles to do the work the deltoid could no longer do. By 1994, he was strong enough to gain the gold medal in the combined event at the Olympic Games in Lillehammer, leading a Norwegian sweep that brought joy to the hometown crowd.
On 13 February 1998, Kjus became the first Alpine skier in Olympic history to earn two medals in one day. In the morning he won a silver medal in the downhill, which had been delayed for five days because of bad weather. That same afternoon he raced in the downhill portion of the combined event and gained a second silver medal.
At the 2002 Winter Games in Salt Lake City, Kjus earned another silver medal in the downhill and added a bronze in the giant slalom. He also placed fifth in the combined event. In Turin in 2006, he took part in the Olympic Games for the fifth time. For all of his Olympic success, Kjus's greatest achievement may have occurred at the 1999 world championships, when he earned a medal in every one of the five Alpine events - two gold and three silver ones.