(Reuters) - Kjetil Jansrud assumed the role of ‘daddy’ of the so-called Attacking Vikings as he beat fellow Norwegian Aksel Lund Svindal to gold in the Alpine skiing world championships on Saturday.
The 36-year-old Svindal, one of the greatest skiers of his generation, had to settle for the silver medal in the last race of his glittering career as Jansrud won by 0.02 seconds.
It was a fitting end to a career which saw him win two Olympic golds, including the downhill last year, five world championships golds and twice win the overall World Cup title.
“It’ll be special for Aksel in a sense — it’s almost symbolic,” American great Bode Miller said in his role as Eurosport’s chief analyst for the championships in Are.
“He’s passed the torch on to Kjetil.
“Jansrud is now the leader of that Norwegian team and I think that’s a real cool ending.”
Despite the terrible race conditions, with minimal visibility and snow falling, Jansrud and Svindal managed to look a class apart from their rivals as they attacked the course in the fearless fashion the Norwegians have become known for.
“I thought the top two really elevated the level of the race,” Miller said. “It was a day where it could have been a protected, easier day — no one can see anything out there and conditions are pretty tough.
“I tip my hat to the top two, raise my glass, because they were in a class of their own. I haven’t seen Aksel ski with that level of intensity in quite some time, he skied like an animal today. Kjetil and Aksel did something really special today.
“Aksel is a legend and will go down as that.”
Svindal, who will quit with 80 World Cup podiums to his name, including 36 wins, said he had been determined to go out in spectacular fashion.
“I thought it would be the right thing to do to give it a hell of a show,” he said.
“Last year, Kjetil and I did the same thing in the Olympics but I won the gold, so he deserves it today.”
Jansrud, who won Super-G gold at the Sochi Olympics, is not exactly a new kid on the block at the age of 33.
“Kjetil is nearly as old as I am so he will take over the dad character for sure!” Svindal, who has finally called it a day after persistent knee problems, said.
“I think we have a cool team, we work hard on that too. How many days do you get like this every year? This is like one in a thousand, or one in a hundred.
“You really have to make it a life worth living as a downhill skier. It’s been an emotional couple of weeks, and I was ready to get this over with to be honest and hammer it one last time and that’s it! I am happy we did well today.”
Reporting by Martyn Herman; Editing by Toby Davis