Today was one of the first days that I had a chance to sit down and actually watch the Olympics. I was able to catch a few minutes of figure skating, as well as the men's super-g skiing competition. The Norwegian man who won the gold medal, Aksel Lund Svindal, had a cool story that stood out from the rest of the athletes. He has a story of "beating the odds" which I'll share with you here (thank you, Wikipedia!)
In his career, Svindal has won five World Championship medals, four World Cup discipline titles (in combined, super-G and giant slalom), and 13 World Cup races. Additionally, he won four medals at the 2002 World Junior Championships, including gold in combined. He won his first overall World Cup in 2007.
On 27 November 2007, during the first training run for the Birds of Prey downhill race in Beaver Creek, USA, Svindal crashed badly after landing a jump. He somersaulted into a safety fence and taken to Vail Valley Medical Center with broken bones in his face and a 15 cm laceration to his groin and abdominal area. He returned to World Cup skiing in October 2008. His first new two victories were a downhill and a super-G in Beaver Creek, the same place where he had injured himself.
Also in his return season, Svindal won his second overall World Cup over Austrian Benjamin Raich. At the very last race of the finals held in Åre, Svindal and Raich had won the two previous races (a downhill and giant slalom respectively), with Svindal leading by two points but Raich being the favourite as a specialist in slalom. However, both skiers went off course and did not finish the slalom, so the Norwegian became the overall winner.
On 15 February 2010, Svindal won the silver medal in the Winter Olympics Downhill competition in Vancouver, 0.07 seconds behind the winner, Didier Defago (Switzerland), and 0.02 seconds ahead of bronze medalist Bode Miller. Svindal's victory won Norway its 100th silver medal at the Winter Olympic Games. This makes Norway the first ever nation to win 100 silver medals at the Winter Olympics.
Four days later, February 19th, Svindal won the Super-G competition in Vancouver, his first ever Olympic gold medal - ahead of Americans Bode Miller (+ 0.28 seconds) and Andrew Weibrecht (+ 0.31 seconds).
Have you heard any inspiring Olympic stories since the start of the 2010 games? Share here!