'Attacking Viking' Svindal thrives on pressure
Norway's Aksel Lund Svindal prepares to take part in an alpine skiing training session at the Rosa Khutor Alpine center on February 5, 2014, before the start of the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympic Games - by Fabrice Coffrini
The self-proclaimed "Attacking Viking", who also won silver in downhill and a bronze in the giant slalom at the Vancouver Games in 2010, is hoping to put the gloss on another impressive season of racing in Sochi.
"I have been fast, I have been winning races and on the podium a lot," said the 31-year-old after arriving in Russia.
"I am running well, I'm well prepared. I have prepared though for a normal World Cup season. Our World Cup is big so that's where we need to focus."
The two-time overall World Cup champion, who claimed his fifth world championships gold medal in Schladming last year, admitted that he thrived on the pressure surrounding world championships and Olympic Games.
"I like the big championships -- it's not just the racing but the pressure and all the positives," said the Norwegian, who has four race wins under his belt on the World Cup circuit so far this season.
"I say the pressure is a positive, it's a challenge and something very few people get to experience."
Svindal, who had to overcome a horrific crash he suffered at Beaver Creek in 2007, said it was tough to stay at the top of men's alpine skiing but the fierce challenge from his rivals made it rewarding.
"It is hard. You can always be good once in a while but to perform week after week, year after year, that is challenging," he said.
"But that is what it takes for us to be ranked number one in the world -- you need to perform almost every weekend."
Speaking about the piste in Rosa Khutor, where he raced in 2012 in a test event for the Sochi Olympics, Svindal said: "It's a cool downhill.
"I wasn't fast enough in 2012, but I have made some improvements since then so I think I will be fast this time."
The Norwegian men's team is looking particularly strong and has been buoyed by the arrival of 19-year-old Henrik Kristoffersen as a genuine contender for the slalom title.
The teenager won his maiden World Cup event at Schladming last month, edging out Austria's Marcel Hirscher and Felix Neureuther of Germany.
"Last week I claimed Henrik Kristoffersen is a superstar!!! Now everyone has to know," Svindal said.