ROSA KHUTOR, Russia (Reuters) - It was no surprise a Norwegian was among the downhill medals on Sunday but not many would have predicted the latest raid on an Olympic podium by an Attacking Viking would come from the bearded Kjetil Jansrud.
The 28-year-old eclipsed downhill world champion Aksel Lund Svindal by taking the bronze medal - his first podium finish at a major championship - leaving his illustrious team mate in fourth.
Jansrud had gone fast in training down the demanding Rose Khutor course but come race day Svindal was expected to be Norway's main hope of medal.
On a day when favourites Bode Miller and Svindal failed to shine, however, it was Jansrud who briefly topped the standings before race winner Matthias Mayer of Austria went 0.10 seconds faster and Italian Christof Innerhofer edged silver.
"It's cool to have a team mate on the podium," Svindal, the reigning Olympic super-G champion, told reporters.
"Of the three guys on the podium, he's my biggest surprise, but that's a really good surprise."
A surprise indeed, especially considering Jansrud has only one World Cup race win in his career, in a super-G on home snow.
"When I crossed the finish line I looked at my time and I figured I was not going to be good enough, I wished I had a one-second lead instead of a three tenths lead.
"I was expecting to be pushed down to fifth or sixth but it didn't happen so I'm happy.
"It was not about beating Aksel," he added. "When I'm skiing I ski for myself and then after that we are one big team again. I guess this time though he had to settle for the bummer of fourth place at the Olympics."
Jansrud is the latest man from the traditionally Nordic hotbed to excel in Alpine skiing, following on from Lasse Kjus and Andre Aamodt, the original Attacking Vikings who won five Olympic golds between them, and more recently Svindal.
But for a couple of errors down the treacherous 3.5km piste he might have been celebrating becoming Norway's first Olympic downhill winner, but he was not complaining.
"I was very close," he said. "It's just one tenth. You can always analyse it but then the other guys could do the same. That's the name of the game. I had no big mistakes today so I can accept things as they are."
Jansrud suffered a bad knee injury after crashing in last year's world championships but said his recovery and return to race pace was hastened thanks to training with Svindal.
"We are a small team, but we're like a family on tour," he said. "We have fun but train very hard, but when we're competing we're rivals, it's the perfect mix."
(Editing by Ed Osmond)
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