He is the first Norwegian to win the men's downhill at the Games and became the oldest man to claim an Olympic gold medal in alpine skiing.
Fast forward two months from December, and no one was quicker on the downhill course at the Pyeongchang Olympics.
"I'm extremely happy", he said.
"I guess this is the beginning of the end somehow, definitely my last Olympics". But once it finally commenced, the wait was well worth it as Svindal made history.
4/5-mile (2.9-kilometer) course at Jeongseon.
Beat Feuz of Switzerland took bronze.
Olympic gold had always eluded him but on a flawless day in Pyeongchang after a week of high wind and delays, Svindal edged Sochi super-G champion Jansrud by 0.12 seconds with Feuz 0.18 secs back.
The new year brought new hope for Svindal that his body would hold up for the Olympics. Both were a direct result of a fearsome crash in Kitzbuehel, Austria, in January 2016. This is the first time I have skied in February in about four years. This time it was Svindal getting the better of his teammate on the downhill course, four days after they were originally slated to duel in the event.
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Svindal's Downhill success is the first time Norway have won gold in the event since 1948. The only time in the race he had led was the one that mattered. It was 34 degrees Fahrenheit (1 degree Celsius) under sunshine and blue skies with only a few wispy clouds.
He went wide at one turn and fought through the air off one jump while posting the eventual eighth-fastest time at the mid-point. Svindal punched his left arm air in the finish area upon seeing the clock and the green light next to his name.
When asked about the honor of becoming the oldest Olympic champion, he said he hadn't given it much thought as he focused on the demands of racing. The oldest Olympic medalist in Alpine racing is Bode Miller, who was 36 when he took bronze in super-G at the Sochi Games.
World champion Beat Feuz's hopes of Olympic gold were dashed with a slight slip midway through the men's downhill on Thursday but the stocky Swiss hailed his bronze medal as another highlight of a "fantastic" season. Norway enters the PyeongChang Games having won four consecutive Olympic super-G gold medals.
In a race that often has a surprise victor, the new Olympic champion has been the most consistent downhill racer over the past decade despite a series of severe injuries.
"What I've learned the most?"
Svindal said: "That (my age) doesn't matter". When he's back, it's there.