ARE, Sweden — If anyone had to beat Aksel Lund Svindal in his final race, he seemed just fine with it being Norwegian teammate Kjetil Jansrud.
After an emotional moment when he leaned back, stretched his arms out and looked to the sky, Svindal was all smiles despite finishing a close second in the downhill at the world championships on Saturday.
Amid a crowd of thousands of flag-waving Norwegian fans, Svindal playfully pointed at Jansrud after finishing 0.02 seconds behind in a race that was characterized by thick fog and heavy snowfall, which caused an hour’s delay.
Jansrud had come down three racers earlier.
“Getting the roar from all the Norwegian fans is one of the most amazing feelings in my career,” Jansrud said. “It’s a very emotional day and I’m going to enjoy it.”
Svindal then bowed to the crowd during the flower ceremony.
“I’ve been sharing the podium quite a few times with Aksel in my career, so doing this on his last race and world championships is an honour, so this is a perfect day,” Jansrud said.
Vincent Kriechmayr of Austria came third, 0.33 behind, to add to his silver medal from super-G earlier in the week.
The 36-year-old Svindal, the two-time Olympic champion and five-time world champion, announced last month that he would retire after this race.
Jansrud was racing with a broken left hand following a fall in training in Kitzbuehel, Austria, 2 1/2 weeks ago. Doctors had told Jansrud to sit out for six weeks but he couldn’t pass up the chance of racing at a worlds so close to home.
“I put everything I had in my heart and mind to get the gold today,” Jansrud said.
Already an Olympic champion in super-G at the 2014 Sochi Olympics, this is Jansrud’s first world title, adding to his two silvers at worlds.
“This was something that I missed up until now,” Jansrud said. “So that makes it bigger.”
While Svindal just missed out on a chance to become the first man to win the downhill world title three times, he still joined Kjetil Andre Aamodt and Marc Girardelli as the only skiers to collect a medal at six different world championships.
Beat Feuz of Switzerland, the previous downhill champion, finished fourth, and former Olympic downhill champion Matthias Mayer of Austria came fifth.
The top American finisher was Bryce Bennett in ninth.
Otmar Striedinger of Austria crashed coming over the huge final jump and slid across the finish line after both skis dislodged. He got right back up, though, and waved to signal he had avoided major injury.
The women’s downhill, which will be Lindsey Vonn’s final race before she retires, is scheduled for Sunday.
AP Sports Writer Steve Douglas contributed to this report.
Andrew Dampf on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/AndrewDampf