Norway's Aksel Lund Svindal pulls out of Olympics

Published on NewsOK Modified: February 17, 2014 at 9:21 am •  Published: February 17, 2014
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KRASNAYA POLYANA, Russia (AP) — Aksel Lund Svindal is skipping his last race at the Olympics because of allergies he thinks are "from the concrete that's in the air."

After training Monday, the Norwegian decided not to enter Wednesday's giant slalom. He had not been planning to enter next Saturday night's slalom, the final Alpine race of the Sochi Games.

"There's a lot of athletes that have some kind of allergy against something here," Svindal told The Associated Press. "I think it's something from the concrete that's in the air, like some fine dust. When I got here, I felt it, too. The doctors knew exactly what it was, because they gave me allergy medicine right away. It helps, but it's kind of draining."

Svindal won three medals at the 2010 Vancouver Games and was expected to be a star in Sochi. But he failed to win a medal in three races this time, finishing fourth in the downhill, eighth in the super-combined and seventh in the super-G on Sunday as the defending champion.

"It was a tough decision. But I think it's been in the back of my mind for some days," Svindal said. "The fact is, even though I was close to medals, (these were) actually the worst races I did this year. That's how stable the season has been.

"When that happens, I think you need to analyze and see what's different," Svindal added. "The only thing I can find that's different is that I have to use medicines because of allergy."

Claus Ryste, Norway's Alpine sports director, said he's had problems with allergies, adding he's been bothered by itchy eyes, a runny nose and a bad throat and hasn't been sleeping well.