Despite hailing from a vertically-challenged region of Norway, 6-foot-5 Norwegian Aksel Lund Svindal has ascended to become one of the world’s best all-around ski racers, as evidenced by his two overall World Cup globes won in 2007 and 2009. At the Vancouver Games, Svindal won gold in the super-G, silver in the downhill – the 100th Olympic silver medal in Norwegian history – and bronze in the giant slalom. At the 2013 World Championships, he claimed his fifth career title, in the downhill, and became the first male skier ever to win titles at four consecutive Worlds.
- 2013: World Championships – Gold (downhill), bronze (super-G)
- 2013: World Cup Standings – 1st (super-G, downhill)
- 2012: World Cup Standings – 1st (super-G)
- 2011: World Championships – Gold (super-combined)
- 2010: Olympics – Gold (super-G), Silver (Downhill), Bronze (giant slalom)
- 2009: World Championships – Gold (super-combined), Bronze (super-G)
- 2009: World Cup Standings – 1st (overall, super-G)
- 2007: World Championships – Gold (downhill, giant slalom)
- 2007: World Cup Standings – 1st (overall, giant slalom, super-combined)
- 2006: World Cup Standings – 1st (super-G)
- 2005: World Championships – Silver (super-combined)
Things to know:
1. Perhaps the scariest moment of Svindal’s career came in 2007, when he crashed hard during training on the Golden Eagle jump toward the bottom of the Birds of Prey downhill course in Colorado. The impact left him with multiple facial fractures, an eight-inch deep laceration to his groin and abdominal area caused by his ski, and several teeth knocked out. During his five-month recovery, he lost over 30 pounds of muscle mass. The following year, he returned to Beaver Creek and won the downhill.
2. Svindal endured a tragic ordeal as an 8-year-old in 1990, when his mother, Ina, and unnamed brother both unexpectedly passed away from complications during childbirth. He says he grew incredibly close after that to his grandparents, who spent a lot of time with him and his brother, Simen, while their father, Bjoern, worked as an accountant.
3. Svindal had dated American Julia Mancuso, a three-time Olympic medalist, for three years before the couple called off their relationship in September 2013.