- Associated Press - Wednesday, February 12, 2014

KRASNAYA POLYANA, Russia (AP) - Feeling down after finishing fourth in the Olympic men’s downhill, Aksel Lund Svindal has put his speed skis aside until his next medal race on Friday.

Svindal’s strategy of not training downhill ahead of the super-combined event was explained Wednesday by Norway’s Alpine head coach and teammate Kjetil Jansrud.

“I think he took it quite hard, finishing fourth in downhill. So he needed a couple of days off,” Jansrud said after completing a practice run. “He’s a little down. But that’s how it is. He’ll be ready for Friday, I think.”

Norway coach Havard Tjorhom said Svindal has now returned to the slopes, training for slalom, and will follow the same routine on Thursday.

“Aksel just wanted to have a break from the course. He needed some days just to get away a little bit,” Tjorhom told The Associated Press.

Though wanting respite from the Alpine course, Svindal stayed in the mountains this week. He already visited Sochi last Friday to carry Norway’s flag in the opening ceremony.

Tjorhom said Svindal learned enough in practice runs last week about the challenging downhill track he will revisit in the opening run of the super-combined.

The slalom discipline, which makes up the second half of super-combined, is another matter because Svindal does not race it on the World Cup circuit.

Still, he is a two-time world championship gold medalist in super-combined.

“A couple of years ago we were among the favorites,” said Jansrud, who earned bronze in the downhill. “But now we both have to put a really good downhill down and then do something spectacular in slalom.”

Favorites for a medal Friday include defending Olympic champion Bode Miller, current world champion Ted Ligety, two-time Olympic silver medalist Ivica Kostelic and slalom specialist Alexis Pinturault.

“Those are the four (best) guys,” Jansrud said. “We’ll just have to roll with it.”

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