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Thursday, April 29, 2010

Billy Demong Carries US Flag at Closing Ceremonies

Nordic Combined GOLD medal winners chosen by fellow athletes as U.S. flagbearer.

What an end to two weeks in Vancouver unforgettable ... the disciplines of Nordic skiing jumping, Nordic combined and cross country, the United States has won only two medals in Olympic competition 86 years. Anders Haugen obtained a bronze medal in ski jumping at the first Winter Olympics in Chamonix, FRA in 1924 ... but because of assessment errors that are not found over the years, it was not given to him until 1974. Bill Koch took home a silver medal in cross-country from the 1976 Olympics in Innsbruck. Although the Nordic Combined, which involves both jumping and cross country, has become the Olympic event since the first games in 1924, the U.S. has never won a medal in the NC. That all changed in Vancouver, with three medals GOLD and SILVER!

U.S. Nordic Combined Team, which has been very successful in the World Cup circuit the past few years, has served notice on the 2009 FIS World Championships in Liberec CZE that they will become formidable competitors in the Olympics in 2010. Todd Lodwick said claimed two medals, while Billy Demong won gold and bronze. Demong has won silver at the 2007 Worlds, and Spillane had struck gold at the 2003 Worlds. Injuries have sidelined both Spillane and Demong, and Lodwick had retired after the 2006 Games in Torino. But with the return of Lodwick years ago, and healthy Demong and Spillane, they were in tears at this year's World Cup. And this season is not over!

In early January, in Val di Fiemme ITA, the scene in 2003's World Championship Spillane, Demong won a World Cup event, with the second Lodwick. They've been running 1-2-3 in the race late, but Spillane equipment problems that dropped him to 22. Indicating with certainty that they will develop from a single American in the opinion, or maybe two, they have become a threat to have three U.S. athletes capable of landing on the podium at every day ... maybe all three!

Spillane almost won the first Olympic event, which NH/10K, which involves jumping on the "normal" (K95) hill, followed by 10 kilometers to the race start time is determined by jumping score. Lodwick finished fourth, and Demong, who has been a leap in mediocrity, had started way back in 24th place, and ran into the sixth. USA 2-4-6, a mark that will come.

In the team competition, where the portion is a relay race, with each of the four team members had to walk five kilometers, the U.S. got to be ONLY team to have all four jumpers exceeding 130 meters. Brett Camerota, placing himself in a position to lead after the first group of skiers, and he did just that. At the time it ended, the U.S. has scored another silver medal, finishing just five seconds behind Austrian great ... and four Americans stood on the podium!

When the round ended up in the hills big jump Spillane finished second, but to Spillane's 129 meters. Demong has Bernhard Gruber of Austria has jumped 134 122.5 jumping and started 13. When the sixth longest jump at 127 meters. Lodwick of Spillane and 46 seconds more Lodwick, but the race started, Gruber has been the lead 34 seconds of their fight throughout the race, they quickly followed Gruber, and the distance placed three in the rest of the field. When it came time to sprint final, has led Demong and Spillane Gruber shattered past ... USA gold and silver! Lodwick ran as high as 4, in a tight pack through most of a race, and finished 13th. His efforts helped to control the rate of the pack, along with anyone who threatens to separate themselves, much the way it will happen in the long-distance bicycle race.

Four medals ... individual one gold, two silver individual and team silver. The biggest day in the history of the United States Ski Team in the Nordic disciplines. This was the culmination of years of progress, and could not happen to a more appropriate group of athletes.

Not only does this achievement received significant attention when they occur, but the spotlight continues to shine. NC medal was raised several times in the coverage on NBC, as well as in other media coverage. The Today Show has featured on Demong on Friday 2 / 26, and still dark in Vancouver when they interviewed him. During the interview, they mentioned that he proposed to his girlfriend, Katie Koczynski, the night before ... and they also said he was in the air that she was chosen by all other U.S. athletes who will be the American flagbearer at the closing ceremony on Sunday night.

For most of the American public, this is all a big surprise. But Demong and Lodwick who ruled the World Champions, and both Demong and Spillane have previous World titles. This is the fifth Olympics for Lodwick, and the fourth for Spillane and Demong. They've been training and competing together since the mid-1990s, and the faith of the U.S. Ski Team to show these people get paid in the most assertive. Congratulations to Billy, Johnny, Todd, Brett, and the fifth, Taylor Fletcher, who competed in the event of LH individuals. Also for coach Dave Jarrett and Chris Gilbertson.

All in all, this is beyond what those who have participated in a Nordic Combined jump can allow ourselves to dream. An extraordinary performance in all respects. Silver in the individual, NH, silver in the relay team, gold and silver in the individual LH. "Do you believe in magic? ... YES!"


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