In a recent interview with his sponsor Red Bull, Norwegian Aksel Lund Svindal was asked to name his top picks when it comes to the athletes who are going to rank at the top of the World Cup standings in the near future. True to his team, the two-time overall champion named two of his fellow Attacking Vikings to the list of the young talents who might have a shot at winning the overall title in coming years.
“There are a few candidates in my own team. I believe that the Norwegian team will grow strong over the next few years,” Svindal explained.
It’s not all about talent for Svindal who also explained how it is difficult to pick these names in the summer, when the true pressure of racing and performing is not on. There is a mental side that often makes the difference.
“In my opinion, dedication to hard work is just as important as the level of skiing,” Svindal clarified.
So here are the three names Svindal suggests you keep in mind:
“The obvious name is Henrik Kristoffersen. He’s got the dedication and unbelievable skills on the slopes,” Svindal said of his first pick.
And the pick is no surprise knowing Kristoffersen became the youngest male medalist in alpine skiing when he won bronze in the Sochi slalom and achieved six podiums in the two seasons he has been competing on the World Cup circuit.
Aleksander Aamodt Kilde
Svindal’s next pick was 21-year-old teammate Aleksander Kilde who won gold at the 2013 Junior World Championships and scored points in the speed events during his first World Cup season.
“Like Kristoffersen, Kilde has a great attitude and a respect for hard work. He’s not shown all his skills on the hill yet but he’s unbelievable in summer dry land training,” Svindal said.
“A more established contender already, but I am sure Pinturault will score big in our sport for many years to come,” Svindal noted of his third pick.
Pinturault won his first Olympic medal in Russia and had his first serious shot at the overall title by finishing third behind Marcel Hirscher and Svindal.
Svindal was not comfortable adding more names this early into the season, but he has no doubts that a lot can be expected from the next generation of racers.
“I am sure we will have at least one more of the young guys from my team making their mark on the World Cup. Marcus Monsen and Adrian Smiseth Sejersted are two great examples.”
In a recent blog post, he explained that sharing his experiences with younger athletes was a way to replicate what Kjetil Andre Aamodt did during his first years in the team.
“Given my experience and age (yes, I’m over 30 now…) I´m kind of a team captain. Nothing official, but I try to help out and share some of my experience.”
He went on to explain how such a role came naturally and was far from a burden. He is inspired by the young guys and enjoys helping them out.
“These guys are awesome! A new generation of seriously Attacking Vikings. We are all different and sure we don’t agree on everything. But a great attitude and a respect for hard work is something shared by this whole group. … The attitude and the work moral make me proud to say that this is my team and they are my teammates.”
Release courtesy of FIS and Red Bull