FILE UNDER -- Alpine

Aamodt and Kjus, injured World Cup greats, on the mend in Norway

Aamodt and Kjus, injured World Cup greats, on the mend in Norway{mosimage}Kjetil Andre Aamodt, the injured Norwegian alpine hero, has skied every day for the last three weeks, and on Monday donned his speed skis for the first time since breaking his ankle while training last October. Meanwhile Lasse Kjus, Norway’s second-most-decorated veteran, is using his own convalescence to attend to his several business ventures, including a clothing line and a ski slope that bears his name.

‘Kjetil wanted to get the feeling of speed’ said Martin Andersen, a combination coach for the Norwegian team, who was on snow with Aamodt on Monday, when Aamodt tried his long boards. ‘He can’t ski gates yet, but he’s keeping up his skiing by doing GS turns. He’s going to do basic drills and keep his skills in May and June. On August first, after the summer holiday, he will be fully fit to charge.’

Kjus ended his season in January at Kitzbuehel, after landing heavily and awkwardly off the Mausefalle jump during the Hahnenkamm downhill. He seriously damaged the meniscus in his knee. It was just two days after Kjus had won on the Kitzbuehel track (in the make-up race for the cancelled Bormio downhill). Kjus was leading in the World Cup standings.

‘He’s disappointed for sure’ says Andersen, ‘But it’s my feeling that it wasn’t even a question in his mind that he’ll come back. He’s really motivated to do workouts. But he’s also waiting for the warm months to come so that he can put his boat in the water.’

Andersen, who was a coach with the U.S. Ski Team’s men’s GS/SL squad until last spring, has been helping coach the Norwegian team this year. He and his wife are taking care of their newborn baby. Andersen himself was injured on a World Cup course this January, at the Wengen downhill training run, where he caught an edge on soft, new snow and hurt his knee. After several weeks off, he is back on snow now, and was present in Kranjska Gora when two Norwegians — Truls Ove Karlsen and Tom Stiansen — finished first and second in Sunday’s World Cup slalom.

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