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Jansrud targets overall improvement after Sochi gold

Norway's Kjetil Jansrud skis during the first run of the men's alpine skiing giant slalom event at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics at the Ros
Norway's Kjetil Jansrud skis during the first run of the men's alpine skiing giant slalom event at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics at the Ros

By Patrick Lang

KVITFJELL, Norway (Reuters) - With two wins in three days on home snow in Kvitfjell, Kjetil Jansrud showed there could be greater things to come following his Olympic Super-G title in Sochi.

After winning a silver medal in the giant slalom in Vancouver four years ago, Jansrud's continued rise was hampered by injuries as he sought to improve physically and become a more versatile skier.

Yet having won a maiden Olympic title at last month's Games, the 28-year-old from Stavanger now looks ready to follow compatriots Kjetil Andre Aamodt and Aksel Lund Svindal and win an overall World Cup title in years to come.

"It's been the plan for many years to improve for the overall (title). I just haven't been good enough and I also struggled with injuries," he said.

"But in the end, for sure, if I can have a whole season with a good preparation, it's the plan."

Joint winner of Friday's downhill with Austria's Georg Streitberger, Jansrud also snatched Sunday's Super-G in front of a home crowd celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Lillehammer Olympics.

"For sure if there's a race I like to win it's Kvitfell," he said.

"It can't compare with Olympic gold or a medal, but it's important for the sport and for the young kids in the area. I'm excited to give something back. When I'm finally home I want to ski fast for them."

Jansrud is not the only one to have been spurred on by their Sochi success.

Matthias Mayer, an extremely gifted hopeful before the start of last month's Winter Games, became an instant hero at home in Austria when he won the downhill gold medal in Rosa Khutor.

He spent the weekend in Norway proving chance had nothing to do with his exploits in Sochi.

The young Austrian finished third in both Saturday's downhill and Sunday's Super-G in Kvitfjell and is keener than ever to clinch his first World Cup victory.

"It was a perfect weekend for me. I'm ready now for the last two weeks of the season. Consistency is everything for a skier as it gives you more confidence for the next race and you can go faster," he said.

"Second or third is alright. It's only a small difference (from first)," he said.

Both Jansrud and Mayer will be in Kranjska Gora next weekend for a giant slalom.

The Norwegian emerged as a giant slalom specialist but has struggled in recent seasons with back pain hampering him on the winding courses of the more technical events.

"But giant slalom is still the event in which I want to be at my best," he said.

Mayer, who is more of a speed racer, will go to Slovenia aware that his father Helmut won his only world Cup race in Kranjska Gora in 1987.

(Reporting by Patrick Lang; editing by Toby Davis) nL3N0LZ08A

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