Aksel Lund Svindal, a three-time Olympic medalist and two-time World Cup overall champion, ruptured an Achilles tendon playing soccer Saturday and will probably miss most of the Alpine skiing season.
The Norwegian suffered the injury eight days before the start of the World Cup season in Soelden, Austria.
“The whole team had gone for a short jog in Soelden, followed by juggling and playing with a football,” Svindal said in a press release, according to the International Ski Federation. “Suddenly, I felt like something hit my leg hard and I knew immediately what was wrong.”
Svindal, 31, was looking forward to making up for a poor Olympics, where he was fourth, seventh and eighth in three races. He pulled out before the end of the Olympics due to allergies and fatigue.
Svindal won super-G gold, downhill silver and giant slalom bronze at the Vancouver 2010 Olympics.
“A bitter injury and extremely poor timing with the season just about to start,” Svindal said. “However, what has happened, has happened – So, now I need to look forward focus on the future. Nobody knows how long the rehabilitation will take, but I am prepared for that it will take some time.”
Svindal’s absence on this season’s World Cup circuit will give Ted Ligety, Bode Miller and Travis Ganong better shots at crystal globes.
Svindal was second in the World Cup overall standings and won the season titles in the downhill and super-G last season.
Ligety was fourth in the World Cup overall standings. Miller was fifth in the super-G and eighth in the downhill. Ganong earned his first career World Cup podium in a post-Olympics downhill in March.
Also, Austrian Marcel Hirscher has one less rival in his quest to win a fourth straight World Cup overall title, which no man has ever done.
A Norwegian national team doctor’s timetable could rule Svindal out of the World Championships in Colorado in February.
“Aksel must now train carefully the next few weeks, and he will most likely not be ready to ski again for the next three or four months,” Dr. Marc Jacob Strauss said in a press release.