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Svindal hit by Norway's 'downhill curse'

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Svindal hit by Norway's 'downhill curse'
Aksel Lund Svindal during the men's downhill in Sochi, Sunday 9 Feb - Photo: Lise Åserud / NTB Scanpix
07:51 CET+01:00
Norwegian alpine skiing star Aksel Lund Svindal on Sunday failed to win Norway's first Olympic downhill title, despite the poor performance of his main competitor, Bode Miller.
Ski-obsessed Norway woke up early to watch the performance of one of its biggest athletes, current world champion and World Cup winner in 2013.
   
It seemed like the day had come when he would finally bring home the gold medal from the Rosa Khutor course.
   
After a disappointing performance by US skier Miller, who ended up coming eighth, nothing could apparently stop the "Attacking viking".
   
But an insufficient performance in several curves shattered the hopes of an entire nation, leaving the 31-year-old Norwegian just off the podium.
   
"I made too many mistakes, especially in the central section, where I wasted a lot" of time, the skier told Norwegian TV2 channel.
   
"It was just in the central section where I had to be fast ... but I made mistakes," he added, disappointed with his "bitter" fourth place.
   
His failure adds a new chapter to the so called "Norwegian downhill curse".    
 
"I tried getting that gold and pushed hard. Too many mistakes and ended up 4th. Not that sweet in #Olympics Thanks for support," Svindal said on Twitter.
   
Despite Norway being the nation with the most Winter Olympic medals -- 303 before the Sochi Games -- the Nordic country has never won the showpiece event.
   
As many as four times in the last 20 years, Norwegian skiers have had to resign themselves to the second place, often with extremely tight margins.
   
Four years ago in Vancouver, Svindal himself came second to Swiss competitor Didier Defago by only seven hundredths of a second.
   
Not even on the home slopes of Lillehammer in 1994 did Kjetil Andre Aamodt escape the cursed second place, only four hundredths of a second away from the
gold.
 
 "Skaardal, Kjus, Aamodt, Svindal and Jansrud. Possibly, the best quintet of all times. But they all fell victims of the downhill curse," Norwegian
supporter Svein Erik Evense said on Twitter.
   
The happy note for Norway came in the shape of a bronze medal by Kjetil Jansrud, who suffered a ligament tear only a year ago.
   
"I'm very happy with what I achieved today. Those who came before me are
better," 28-year-old Jansrud told TV2. "Give me another year and I'll be even better."
   
Against all odds, the gold medal went to Matthias Mayer of Austria, leaving Italian Christof Innerhofer in second place.
   
"Jansrud's sweet revenge", read the headline on Norwegian tabloid Dagbladet.
   
TV2 pushed even further with "From the operating table to the Olympic bronze".
   
On Twitter, Norwegians were pinning their hopes on other alpine disciplines, especially the super giant slalom, where Svindal holds the Olympic title from Vancouver.
   
"Nice that bronze went to Jansrud. Actually, you forget a little about Svindal's disappointment. Let's hope for gold in the Super G," said fan, Terje Bakkom.
 
Thanks to a very successful start, with four medals on Saturday -- two of gold -- Norway was already topping the Sochi Games medal ranking after only one day of competition.
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