Norwegian double: Jansrud’s first gold, Aksel’s farewell, and an Austrian love story

Aksel Lund Svindal

Snowfall overnight is downhill racers’ and organizers’ worst nightmare. Regardless, the Åre 2019 grandstand was full and the Norwegian team the clear crowd favorites as the Norwegian ski fans made their way to Åre 2019 and they were not disappointed.

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Thanks to tireless, amazing work by the slope crew all night and morning long, the men’s downhill course was race ready at the planned start time 12:30 CET. However, the snowfall began anew, and combined by fog led to two 30-minute delays. No wonder that the fans in the full-packed grandstand were thrilled when the stadium announcer Roberto Vacchi finally confirmed that the race would begin at 13:30 CET.

The grandstand was packed during the men's Downhill.

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The main actors in today’s drama at Sweden’s National Arena were Norwegian. Aksel Lund Svindal competed for the very last time in his storied career. Kjetil Jansrud, who broke a finger in Kitzbühel and skis with screws in it, had a fantastic run, taking a commanding lead when he crossed the finish line to the great delight of the ecstatic public. Starting behind him, Aleksander Aamodt Kilde and Carlo Janka were unable to challenge the Attacking Viking.  

Speed star Svindal who raced with bib number #9 took the lead at the first intermediate time. However, only a little mistake sufficed for him to trail Jansrud at the second intermediate time, by just two hundredths. And that’s the very margin that separated Svindal and Jansrud in the finish, to Jansrud’s advantage. 

"That didn't feel too bad at all", said Svindal afterwards, smiling. 

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The fight for gold and silver was thus over early on. Among the favorites, Dominik Paris and Matthias Mayer both failed to beat the Norwegian duo. Austria’s Vincent Kriechmayr raced with bib number #17 and rounded out the podium, just 10 hundredths ahead of reigning world champion from St Moritz 2017, Beat Feuz of Switzerland in 4thplace. Kriechmayr, who clearly loves Åre after his double victory in downhill and super at the FIS World Cup Finals last March, finished 3rdand won his already second medal at Åre 2019. 

Happy Norwegians - Aksel Lund Svindal, Kjetil Jansrud and Vincent Kriechmayr celebrating after the men's Downhill

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"This was one of the most amazing feelings in my career. It is a very wonderful day. I've had some good experiences throughout my career and this was something that I was missing up until now so it makes it bigger. I would also like to say that I've been sharing the podium with Aksel quite a few times and doing this at the World Champs, on his last race, is an honor  so this is a perfect day", said gold medalist Jansrud.  

Aksel Lund Svindal and Lindsey Vonn having fun

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Svindal, who finished his career with yet another Championships medal, is one of few ski racers who have won medals at six different FIS World Ski Championships. For Kjetil Jansrud, his gold medal in today’s downhill is his first World Championships gold after the two silver medals he won at Vail 2015 and St Moritz 2017.  

As the best Swede, Felix Monsén finished 16th, equaling his result from St Moritz 2017.

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