Svindal seeks world super-G title
By Luke Phillips ,AFPBy Luke Phillips
February 6, 2013, 12:03 am TWN
SCHLADMING -- Norwegian colossus Aksel Lund Svindal will bid to add the world super-G title to his Olympic crown when he races on Wednesday in the opening men's event at the world championships.
The towering 30-year-old dominated the event in winning gold at the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver and is seen as a favourite for the speed events at Schladming given his continuing consistency in both the super-G and downhill.
Svindal has won three of the four super-G races on the World Cup tour this season, including the last two.
That means he currently heads the World Cup super-G standings, but he has been left praying for good weather in this Austrian resort after training since his last competitive outing in Kitzbuehel was hit by bad weather.
“Looks like we could get some challenging weather in Schladming for the world championships,” Svindal said.
“We tried skiing downhill (in training in south Tirol), but it was pretty hard. And when the lifts closed because of strong wind it was for sure time to shut down.
“But that is also the beauty of outside sport. The weather will change and every day is different, especially in the mountains.
“And I guess the super G race on Wednesday could be raced either in perfect sun or in fog and snow storms. We don't know that yet. But let's hope for the sunny version!”
Should Svindal win, he would become the sixth man to have claimed five or more world championship golds after Toni Sailer (AUT, 7), Jean-Claude Killy (FRA, 6), Kjetil Andre Aamodt (NOR, 5), Gustav Thoeni (ITA, 5) and Ingemar Stenmark (SWE, 5).
Svindal's four gold medals so far have come in super combined (2), giant slalom and downhill.
He won bronze at the super-G at the 2009 worlds in Val d'Isere, his only previous podium in this discipline at this level.
Svindal will, however, be up against a strong Italian contingent.
Defending world champion in the discipline is Christoph Innerhofer, who also won on the Planai slope here at the World Cup finals last year.
He came third in the most recent World Cup super-G race on the testing Streif piste in Kitzbuehel.
Innerhofer will be joined in the attack by teammates Matteo Marsaglia and Werner Heel, respectively second and fifth in the World Cup standings.
Also likely to be in the shakedown for a podium place will be the Austrian duo of Hannes Reichelt and Joachim Puchner, while the likes of American Ted Ligety and Canada's defending world downhill champion Erik Guay cannot be ruled out.