Inadvertently, the Crown Prince of Norway picked a good day to head up the mountain to watch Alpine skiing.
The heir to the throne was in attendance Thursday when Norwegian teammates Aksel Lund Svindal and Kjetil Jansrud took gold and silver in the men’s downhill — one of the marquee events at the Winter Olympics.
“We were supposed to see super-G today,” Crown Prince Haakon told The Associated Press minutes after joining a jubilant victory photograph with the winning team. “It’s been a good race, a good day.”
The original plan made sense. Certainly before the Alpine schedule was blown off course by fierce winds at the blustery Pyeongchang Games. The men’s super-G was originally scheduled for Thursday and it is an event Norway dominates — four straight Olympic titles, including gold for Svindal in 2010.
When Jansrud won super-G four years ago, Prime Minister Erna Solberg was at the course in Russia to watch.
In downhill, however, Norway had never won, and took silver at four of the past six Winter Games.
There would have been no royal presence had downhill been raced last Sunday as intended.
“They changed the program,” the crown prince said. “But we were very happy today. It’s really quite impressive that they’re able to perform at their very best in the Olympics when the stakes are highest.”
Svindal’s second career Olympic gold medal was also his fourth medal in total. He and close friend Jansrud also shared a podium when taking bronze and silver, respectively, in giant slalom at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics.
Jansrud also now has four career Olympic medals, including bronze in the 2014 Sochi Olympic downhill.
Crown Prince Haakon said the popular racers were “very nice guys” who were “very good at building teams.”
“They are able to also carry others, the kids coming behind them look up to them,” the 44-year-old prince said.
Can the royal visit extend to super-G on Friday, where more Norwegian medals are expected?
“No,” he said, “unfortunately not.”