Friday, February 19, 2010

Another great story

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.[1]

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.[2]

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!


  1. Did you see JR Celski from America in speed skating? He qualified for the olympics super early, which was good because in November (I think November!) he crashed and sliced his thigh open, centimeters from a major vein. Had he been any closer to it, he would have bled out in 10 seconds. The olympics were his first competition since, and he ended up getting bronze! Plus he's really young and you can tell he's got a great attitude. He'll be fun to watch the next couple of years.

  2. Yeah actually my dad shared that story with me the other day. It's crazy!! I think stories like this put my own life and "hardships" in perspective. It's really inspiring to think that YOU have the power to do anything when you want it bad enough.

  3. I love inspiring stories about attitude. Apolo Ohno is one that I never tire of hearing....a superstar in the making and then at the age of 15, he "gives up" at the very end of a major competition. His father is crushed because he knows his son's heart was not in the race. He sends Apolo to a remote beach house by himself to figure out what it is he wants in life. He says to his son, "Call me when you have figured out what direction you are going in your life and when you have made up your mind to pursue that with your whole heart." We all know the rest of the story!!!