An injured Kjetil Jansrud may well have passed the baton when he skied down to congratulate fellow Norwegian Aleksander Aamodt Kilde on a World Cup super-G win in Beaver Creek, Colo., on Friday.
Kilde may have confirmed it Saturday, winning for the second consecutive day, this time taking a downhill.
Kilde, returning after a season-ending knee ligament tear in January, prevailed by .66 of a second over Austrian Matthias Mayer on the Birds of Prey course.
“MY MAN!! @AKILDE,” was posted on the absent Jansrud’s Instagram story with a screenshot of the leaderboard.
Swiss Beat Feuz, the world’s top downhiller the previous four years, was third. Ryan Cochran-Siegle was the top American in sixth.
Kilde, the 29-year-old boyfriend of Mikaela Shiffrin, recorded his eighth World Cup victory, half of them coming in the last year. He won the biggest annual prize in ski racing, the World Cup overall title, in the pandemic-shortened 2019-20 season.
But he has never been the most accomplished active speed racer among Norway’s famed Attacking Vikings. That title was held by Olympic gold medalists Aksel Lund Svindal and Jansrud for the last decade. Svindal, a two-time World Cup overall champion, retired in 2019.
Jansrud, 36 and a five-time Olympic medalist, reportedly said before this season that it would likely be his last. Now it’s unknown if he will race again after suffering ligament damage in Friday’s crash, ruling him out of Saturday’s downhill as he waits to fly back to Norway on Monday for further evaluation.
Kilde dedicated Saturday’s win to Jansrud.
“It was a really emotional day yesterday,” Kilde said on NBCSN. “We should all give him a hand for the behavior he had after the crash, coming down, being a hero.”
A Norwegian man has won Alpine gold at every Olympics since the nation’s disastrous showing in 1988, when it won zero golds among all sports.
Kilde, from Lommedalen, a valley community of 11,000 west of Oslo whose most famous native is world chess champion Magnus Carlsen, looks like the best hope to extend the streak. Technical specialist Henrik Kristoffersen is also a threat.
The Beaver Creek World Cup finishes Sunday with another downhill.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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