Aksel Lund Svindal Takes Downhill, Super-G Titles At Lake Louise World Cup
Norway’s alpine ski sensation Aksel Lund Svindal wasted no time this season jumping out to a commanding lead in the World Cup standings. With his downhill and super-G wins in Lake Louise, Alberta, Canada, Svindal took control of the season standings, with 200 total points. Svindal had previously won the super-G event at last year’s Lake Louise as well.
In the downhill portion of the competition in Canada, Svindal beat out Austria’s Max Franz by 0.64 seconds for the victory. His time of 1 minute, 48.31 seconds on the Olympic course was enough to secure his fourth victory at Lake Louise, adding to three previous super-G victories. Svindal had a lot of respect for the local riders, noting a strange geographical phenomenon that exists between the Canadians and Norwegians on their respective home turfs.
“The Canadians do well in Norway and we usually do well in Canada. It’s a good working relationship,” Svindal said. “It has to do with latitude obviously, but this is more similar to Norway than a lot of the places we go in Europe.”
Switching gears to the super-G discipline, Svindal was set to defend his 2011 title on Sunday. Looking to pull off a rare sweep of the downhill and super-G races in Lake Louise, Svindal shot down the speed course in a time of 1 minute 34.96 seconds, finishing nearly a full second ahead of France’s Adrien Théaux. His win, by a 0.85 second margin meant Svindal was the first athlete to complete the Lake Louise sweep since America’s Bode Miller in 2004. This was also Svindal’s 18th career victory.
“That’s the great thing about skiing. When you have it, you go fast,” Svindal said after his big sweep. “Most racers, including myself, don’t have the chance to win World Cups every day and when you feel you have a chance, you have to get after it,” Svindal continued. “Yesterday and today, I felt ‘this is a race I can win’ and you’ve got to try and take advantage of those opportunities.”
On the women’s side, American youngster Mikaela Shiffrin continued her quest to be amongst the top alpine ski racers in the business. Following up her stunning podium finish in Finland to open the season, the seventeen-year-old Shiffrin finished seventh at the Nature Valley Aspen Winternational, an Audi FIS Alpine Ski World Cup event held in Aspen, CO. This was Shiffrin’s seventh top ten finish of her short 2 year World Cup career. Her performance in Aspen put Shiffrin in fifth place in the Audi FIS Alpine World Cup overall and slalom standings.
“I had a great weekend. I had so much fun here. It was a beautiful, awesome slope,” said Shiffrin. “It was challenging, because I’m just trying to establish myself as a competitive racer with all these other guys. All in all, I’m psyched to be home. I love racing this hill. It’s been great.”
Congratulations to Svindal on his epic sweep and to Shiffrin on her continued success on the World Cup stage. The men will head to Beaver Creek, CO for downhill, super-G and giant slalom action on the Birds of Prey course next weekend. The women will ascend on Lake Louise for their shot at the Canadian courses. Best of luck to all the Oakley alpine ski racers.