Norway’s Svindal follows gut back to the slopes

Deep down in the pit of his stomach, Aksel Lund Svindal knows when it is time to start ski racing again.The Norwegian star plans to make his much-anticipated return in Tuesday's downhill training at the 2015 Alpine World Ski Championships.

"You should always trust your gut feeling," Svindal said. "For me it is a mix of feelings and intelligence. I know that it is good enough to give it a try."

The two-time overall World Cup champion Svindal ruptured his Achilles tendon juggling with a soccer ball during some dryland training just eight days before the start of the World Cup season. Many thought Svindal would be out for the year, including his team doctor, but Svindal convinced him to let him try to ski this week and possibly see if he can finish out what is left of the 2014-15 season.

"It is exciting to be here because I didn't expect to be here," Svindal said. "It is a track that I like a lot. I have had dramatic moments here. I won big here and I was in a big crash. I always enjoy coming here."

Svindal, 32, will wear a specially-designed ski boot on his surgically-repaired left foot on Tuesday. The plastic inside of the boot has been ground down and the padding replaced to make room for his swollen ankle.

"My [repaired] Achilles is four times the thickness of the other one but that will eventually go down. I had to reconfigure the boot for the Achilles," he said. 

Svindal was leading the overall World Cup standings in 2007-08 season when he was involved in a horrific flying wreck at Beaver Creek. One of his skies sliced so far into his buttocks that doctors opened his abdomen to take stock of the damage.

Svindal returned to the Birds of Prey course the next year and won the downhill. Svindal is hoping that this return will be just as successful — he's just not sure if the wins will begin this week.

 "I am here to give it a shot. I know I will be fast again," he said.

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