Winter Olympics: Norwegian skier wishes his mom saw him make history

Svindal's mother died when he was 8 years old

(CNN) - That one was you for Mom.

Norway's Aksel Lund Svindal made history last week, becoming the oldest skier to win a downhill gold at the Olympics, aged 35.

It was also his country's first gold medal in the event, propelling him even higher in the ranks of the most-loved Norwegian sportsmen.

The triumph could only have been made sweeter, if his mother -- who died in childbirth when Svindal was eight years old -- had been there to share it with him, he tells CNN's Christina Macfarlane.

"I can imagine that everything I've accomplished and all the moments that I've been able to experience with my dad and my brother -- that if she was there too, it would have been better," he says.

"That would have been the perfect way for sure, but that's not how life is."

String of setbacks

As a skier who has endured a fair share of career-threatening injuries, Svindal knows that life doesn't always go to plan. But that hasn't stopped his steely determination and optimism.

"Life takes turns that you wouldn't expect and it's all about making the best out of it," he says.

Since the last games in 2014, each season has been cut short by injury for Svindal. In 2016, he suffered a massive crash at Kitzbuehel -- rupturing his anterior cruciate ligament which is located in the knee. He then missed the following season due to surgery.

This season has been better, with Svindal scoring three World Cup wins so far. But he has still had to limit his training to two days a week.

After his Olympic victory last week, Svindal admitted his long career was drawing to a close and that these Games would be his last.

But, he's not quite ready to give it all up. Svindal refuses to think of a time when his body can no longer take it: "I really want to go on."

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