PYEONGCHANG, South Korea, Feb 18 (Reuters) - Kjetil Jansrud bowed out of the Pyeonchang Olympics with a disqualification in the men’s giant slalom on Sunday but said he would be leaving with a smile on his face and was not ruling out a return in 2022.
The 32-year-old Norwegian won silver behind team mate Aksel Lund Svindal in the downhill and bronze in the super-G at the Jeongseon Alpine Centre this week to take his tally to five medals from four Olympics.
Jansrud admitted the example of his friend Svindal, who gave Norway its first champion in the marquee event of Alpine skiing at the age of 35 on Thursday, had helped persuade him not to close the door on competing in Beijing in four years’ time.
“I’m not sure, I wish I could say yes, and in some ways I wish I could say no, it’s not certain,” he told reporters
“At the age of 36, if you stay healthy, if everything runs smoothly, you can be fast and stay up and compete with the best.
“It’s not technically impossible, but practically? I don’t know. I’m not closing the door.”
The Sochi super-G champion said he had found the transition from the speed events to the technical giant slalom too tricky in the opening run of the race on Sunday.
“You compete in speed disciplines for two or three weeks and you come in and want to make statement in GS (giant slalom) but the consistency is hard. I got kicked out of the gate and it’s over,” he added.
“The difference between the specialists and the all-rounders was clear today.”
Jansrud will depart South Korea on Monday and said he would do so with a sense of satisfaction over how he had performed in Pyeongchang.
“The championships have been good, I’ve been close to gold,” he said.
“I had issues in the combined with the downhill part being shortened but the slalom not shortened. That was a tough day mentally because I figured I had a good chance of a medal there.
“I thought I had three good chances of a medal here, I got two of them. So all in all, I’m very happy with the silver and bronze, and as a team, getting the long-awaited downhill gold, that was a big day.
“I’m going to have a smile on my face on the plane home.”
The two medals on the Jeongseon piste allowed Jansrud to draw alongside Italian great Alberto Tomba and compatriot Lasse Kjus in third place on the list of most decorated male Olympic Alpine skiers.
“I remember getting Tomba’s autograph in Lillehammer in 1993, I think I still have it,” he smiled. “Now suddenly I’m being mentioned alongside him. That’s a proud moment.” (Reporting by Nick Mulvenney; Editing by John O’Brien)