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Demong 3rd in Final Combined Sprint

Mon, Mar  19, 2007 - By US Ski Team

OSLO, Norway (March 18) - World Championships silver medalist Bill Demong (Vermontville, NY) moved up four places in the 7.5K sprint Sunday to finish third, ending his best nordic combined World Cup season on the podium behind Jason Lamy Chappuis of France and Felix Gottwald of Austria. Eric Camerota (Park City, UT) was 27th.

Demong, whose season included the second World Cup victory of his career a week ago and a silver medal March 3 at the 2007 FIS Nordic World Championships, was seventh in the lone round of jumping and started the four-lap race 56 seconds behind jumping leader Espen Rian of Norway.

Only three seconds to say g'bye to Felix
At the 5.6K mark, Demong was second, a half-minute behind Lamy Chappuis and at the front of a five-skier "train" - with Gottwald having moved up from 19th after jumping to fourth, two seconds back of Demong. Gottwald pulled by in a short time and skied off while Demong, who had to scramble during the jumping event to get a second jump after the jury agreed he had been given the go-ahead in poor conditions, held onto third place.

"Felix definitely was pouring it on to retire with a big one," Demong said, "and when he caught me, just as I was breaking away from several guys, I don't think we skied together for three seconds and then he was gone."

Demong finished 11th the points, his best performance since he was 10th in 2002 - but suffered a fractured skull that summer in a fluke swimming pool accident. This winter, he said, was a "far more" satisfying season. "I came into the season with some confidence, and my jumping got better every competition. This, seventh, was my best jump result of the season...and my cross country has been strong all along."

"It was close, but it was also the way the day went. Still, it's a pretty good day - a podium for Billy and World Cup points for Eric. Good for both of them. Eric should realize he can ski at this level, ski with these guys," Head Coach Lasse Ottesen said.

"Billy was totally out of gas at the end. He'd had quite a bit of activity during the jump, and it caught up with him...and he had nothing left in the tank, so this was an even more impressive result. I'm psyched for both of them."

Windy conditions cause problems
Gusting winds caused several holds during the jumping stage, including in front of Demong. When a forejumper finally was sent and then Demong, he went only 79 meters. Ottesen said he spoke to the assistant technical delegate, Finn Tapio Juonnonen, and suggested Demong should get another jump because his speed in the in-run was two kilometers slower than most jumpers. A few jumpers later, when the winds flared again, officials agreed to give Demong re-jump. He hustled back to the top of the jump and arrived just in time...and laid down a 98.5-meter jump, which set the stage for his podium.

"I was running, but if I didn't get the jump, I wouldn't have been [crazy]. I knew today was going to be nuts because of the winds, so whatever happened happened...and if I didn't get a second jump, I would have gone back, packed my gear and been ready to come home," he said. "I've learned to be more patient and a day like today wasn't going to throw me."

The World Cup season is over, but the U.S. championships remain - next weekend in Steamboat Springs, Colo., in conjunction with the U.S. jumping championships at Howelsen Hill.

114th Holmenkollen Skifestival
Oslo - March 18, 2007
1. Jason Lamy Chappuis, France, (2/19)
2. Felix Gottwald, Austria, (19/ 1) 12.6 seconds back
3. Bill Demong, Vermontville, NY (7/6) 24.3
4. Mario Stecher, Austria, (13/5) 32.4
5. Thomas Slavik, Czech Republic, (3/26) 37.6
27. Eric Camerota, Park City, UT, (28/24) 1:46.9

For complete results: