Jan Hudec overcomes back injury for best Olympic finish of career
Canada's Jan Hudec claps following his 21st place finish during the Men's Downhill final at the Sochi Winter Olympics in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia, Sunday, Feb. 9, 2014. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)
Published Sunday, February 9, 2014 7:41AM EST
Last Updated Sunday, February 9, 2014 8:47AM EST
KRASNAYA POLAYNA, Russia -- Calgary's Jan Hudec wasn't even sure he was going to participate at the Sochi Olympics.
The 32-year-old Hudec herniated a disc in his lower back while training at the gym mid-January, but he recovered in time to go to the Sochi Games.
Hudec was 21st in the men's downhill Sunday, finishing in two minutes 8.49 seconds.
Austria's Matthias Mayer completed the Rosa Khutor course in 2:06.23 to win gold. Italy's Christof Innerhofer took silver, 0.06 seconds behind, and Norway's Kjetil Jansrud earned bronze, 0.10 behind.
Despite his back injury -- and several injuries to his knees throughout his career -- Hudec's performance is the best of his Olympic career.
He finished 25th in downhill at the Vancouver Olympics and 23rd in super-G at the 2010 Games.
"My experience here is good, ... but we didn't come here for an experience. We came here for a medal," Hudec said. "And I think my back was good enough to put down a good enough performance today so I didn't have any excuses. My legs felt good and yeah, just a bit of a bummer."