Aleksander Aamodt Kilde, the world’s top male Alpine skier, tested positive for the coronavirus after returning to Norway last Wednesday after the season-opening World Cup race in Austria, according to the Norwegian skiing federation.
Kilde, 28 and the reigning World Cup overall champion, said he has mild symptoms and, while isolating, is optimistic about a fairly quick recovery, according to a press release. All other Norwegian national team Alpine skiers tested negative.
Kilde, who is strongest in downhill and super-G, failed to finish his first run of the World Cup giant slalom in Soelden, Austria, on Oct. 18. The next race is a parallel event in Austria on Nov. 14. The first races in Kilde’s favored speed events are in December.
Last winter, Kilde won the overall title, the biggest annual prize in ski racing, by 54 points over Frenchman Alexis Pinturault, accumulating season-long results across disciplines.
Kilde, whose best previous overall finish was seventh, succeeded Austrian Marcel Hirscher, who retired before last season after a record eight straight overall crowns.
Pinturault and women’s World Cup overall champion Federica Brignone of Italy both believe they contracted the coronavirus earlier this year.
Markus Waldner, the International Ski Federation’s men’s World Cup director, said this season’s schedule — already limited by canceling North American men’s and women’s stops, but still traversing 13 different countries — is a matter of survival and hanging by a thread, given the state of the virus, according to Austrian media before Soelden.