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Olympics: Ace Svindal looks to super-G for redemption

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

So far, Norwegian skiing ace Aksel Lund Svindal has had a disappointing run at the Winter Olympics in Sochi.

After scoring a full set of medals in Vancouver in 2010, he just missed the podium in the downhill here, one of his best disciplines, and fell to eighth in the super-combined.

But on Sunday, the 31-year-old five-time world champion could redeem himself in the men's super-G and defend his Olympic title from four years ago.

As Olympic champion and current leader in World Cup super-G rankings, there is no doubt the elegant Scandinavian goes into the race as the favourite.

His lack of success so far in the Caucasus mountains has also been gnawing at him and will leave him with something to prove on Sunday.

Always gracious in defeat, the tall Norwegian put on a smile in front of the press after his races.

But his feelings shone through on social networks.

"Win some and... I tried getting that gold and pushed hard. Too many mistakes and ended up fourth. Not that sweet in #Olympics," he tweeted dejectedly after his narrow medal-miss in the downhill.

After the super-combined on Friday, the mood was hardly better.

"I was disappointed after the downhill, but this one... I'm real disappointed now. I need to have a reality check because the fact is: I was one of the favourites," he told journalists.

The super-G, a speed event like the downhill but with widely spaced gates, will take place on the same course that the skiers have been training and racing on for over a week, but with a 500-metre lower start.

And Svindal can take comfort in his super-G consistency over the years.

Four of his seven World Cup crystal globes have been in this discipline, including in the last two seasons. His one Olympic gold was in super-G and at world championships last year he took bronze, alongside downhill gold.

Also in the frustrated ranks -- seeking to add another medal to his five from 2002 and 2010 Olympics -- US star Bode Miller will be looking to make up for his eighth place in the downhill and sixth in super-combined.

"I'll never stop pushing myself past my limits, but the mistakes that come with it are hard to swallow. #frustrationstation," the super-G silver-medallist from Vancouver tweeted on Friday.

"The tactics are there. The skiing is there," he also said.

Miller's US colleague Ted Ligety shocked the competition at last year's world championships in Schladming, Austria when he took super-G gold, having only ever achieved one World Cup podium in the discipline, back in 2009.

But the 29-year-old four-time world champion is never one to be discounted at big events and could claim new hardware in the mountains above the Black Sea.

A tremendously strong Swiss team that has already pocketed two golds and one bronze in alpine skiing at these Games, could also strike again.

The two races not won by Svindal this season went to the Swiss: Patrick Kueng in Beaver Creek and Didier Defago in Kitzbuehel.

The men's super-G on Sunday will kick off at 11:00am (0700GMT).

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/140215/olympics-ace-svindal-looks-super-g-redemption