Norway's Svindal falters in Olympic men's downhill

Published on NewsOK Modified: February 9, 2014 at 8:10 am •  Published: February 9, 2014

KRASNAYA POLYANA, Russia (AP) — Norway got a medal in the Olympic men's downhill. It just wasn't gold — and it didn't go to the skier who was widely expected to receive it.

Aksel Lund Svindal, the reigning world champion and World Cup leader in Alpine skiing's glamour event, finished fourth. Instead, it was Kjetil Jansrud who took bronze to ensure Norway's fifth men's downhill medal in the past six Olympics.

Svindal blamed his own errors in finishing 0.29 seconds behind gold medalist Matthias Mayer of Austria, Christof Innerhofer of Italy and Jansrud.

"I think I had pretty good speed, but I had too many small mistakes," Svindal said. "Twenty-nine-hundredths is not a big margin, and that's what those mistakes will cost you, for sure."

Svindal was gracious in defeat and happy for Jansrud.

"It's cool to have a teammate on the podium," Svindal said. "Of the three guys on the podium, he's my biggest surprise, but that's a really good surprise."

Despite his second straight near-miss in Olympic downhill, the 31-year-old Svindal refused to feel sorry for himself.

"It's a part of the game. If you can't take a fourth place then you can't be a racer," he said.

Four years ago, he was bumped by Didier Defago of Switzerland, by just seven-hundredths of a second.

That left Svindal to fill the lower podium steps with Bode Miller, and follow Norwegian greats Kjetil Andre Aamodt (1994) and Lasse Kjus (1998, 2002) as downhill silver medalists.

"No one ever goes and just grabs their medals," Svindal said. "You've got to put down a perfect run, and under these conditions, that is actually really hard."

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