- Associated Press - Saturday, February 8, 2014

KRASNAYA POLYANA, Russia (AP) - Accustomed to racing down the side of a mountain with a ski pole in each hand, Alpine skiing star Aksel Lund Svindal was fired up about using only one mitt to carry Norway’s flagpole while walking in the opening ceremony for the Olympics.

“I went for the one-hander,” Svindal noted proudly after finishing second in the last training run ahead of Sunday’s downhill.

Among the other Alpine ski racers who were flagbearers at Friday night’s procession in Sochi’s Fisht Stadium: Croatia’s Ivica Kostelic, Czech Republic’s Sarka Zahrobska, Germany’s Maria Hoefl-Riech and Liechtenstein’s Tina Weirather.

Norway’s hockey players gave Svindal a hard time beforehand, joking that if he couldn’t handle it, they’d be willing to lighten his load and grab the flag.

“When we were going in, (they) were tapping me on the shoulder, and were like, ‘Just tell us, when you’re tired and need a break,’” said Svindal, who won three medals at the 2010 Vancouver Games. “I was like, ‘I’ll kill you guys and do the one hand all the way.’

- Howard Fendrich - Twitter https://twitter.com/HowardFendrich


Associated Press reporters will be filing dispatches about happenings in and around Sochi during the 2014 Winter Games. Follow AP journalists covering the Olympics on Twitter: https://apne.ws/1c3WMiu

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