Aksel Lund Svindal. Photo: Cornelius Poppe / NTB scanpix
Ski star Aksel Lund Svindal may miss the entire World Cup season after getting a serious injury while playing a game of football with his teammates at the weekend.
The accident happened during a training session in Sölden on Saturday afternoon and Svidnal is confirmed as suffering a torn Achilles tendon.
Svindal was in training in Sölden to prepare himself for next weekend's skiing World Cup which opens with the slalom competition. He was one of six Norwegian male alpinists set to compete.
It was the Achilles tendon in his left leg that ruptured, and the ski champion was immediately taken to hospital in Innsbruck, 100km away, and received immediate surgery.
Svindal is unsure how long he will be out of action, but he is likely to miss the whole World Cup season.
The 31-year-old said in a statement via the Norwegian Ski Federation: “We had been on a short jogging trip in Sölden together with the whole team and finished it off with some ball play. I suddenly felt a jolt in my leg and I understood right away what was wrong. S*** happens.”
“We went quickly to the hospital in Innsbruck. There I received fast and super service and the conclusion was that my Achilles tendon had ruptured. I was operated on less than an hour later,” he added.
Svindal was the last Norwegian alpinist to win the season opening in Sölden. He won on the Rettenbach glacier in 2007 and was one of the favourites at that time. Norwegian ski fans now have to put their trust in Kjetil Jansrud and Leif Kristian Haugen.
Svindal said from his sickbed in Innsbruck: “It is a boring injury and extremely bad timing just as the season is about to start. But it has happened now, so I can now only look ahead. Noone knows exactly how long the recovery will take, but I expect it to take a while.”
He added: “I’m well looked after and will stay in Austria for a while longer before I go to Oslo to make a plan further with the Olympia team.”
Marc Jacob Strauss, team physician for the alpine skiers, advised Svindal must now train himself carefully over the next weeks and will most probably not be able to use his skis for the next three to four months.
Ski chief Claus Ryste said to NTB: “It's a very serious injury Aksel has, and according to all past experience we know, this will take time to heal. I therefore feel quite certain he will not take part in the World Cup this season.”