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U.S. Combined Podium Streak Ends in Trondheim

Mon, Dec  10, 2007 - By US Ski Team

TRONDHEIM, Norway (Dec. 9) - Johnny Spillane (Steamboat Springs, CO) was 17th and Bill Demong (Vermontville, NY) 21st Sunday in a World Cup nordic combined sprint. That ended the U.S. streak of podiums at four, the longest of the World Cup era.

In the sprint, athletes get one jump and then ski a 7.5K race. Both Americans had trouble on their lone jump and then moved up during the three-lap race. Spillane had the sixth-fastest race and advanced seven places while Demong, who won the third World Cup of his career Saturday, went from 26th in jumping to taking a photo finish for 21st.

Austrian Christoph Bieler edged Jason Lamy Chappuis of France by three-tenths of a second for the win.

"The boys put together a good streak and today was a wake-up call for them. They know this isn't their level, but it's also a reminder that, as we've discussed all along, we have to go out every competition and start over," Head Coach Lasse Ottesen said. "Nobody gives us podiums based on what we did yesterday or a week ago. It's always a new day with new chances. These podiums have come because of hard work.

"They had a poor jump today, just little mistakes, but at this level that can mean 10 meters. Everyone wants to beat Billy and Johnny now; they're targets because they've won and been on the podium. It was good to see Johnny skiing so well in the race after that stomach bug he had yesterday. He's healthy again."

The nordic combined World Cup began with the 1984 season. The four-podium streak by U.S. skiers began at Holmenkollen in Oslo last March when Demong was third in a sprint, which ended the 2007 season. Last weekend, Spillane opened the 2008 season with a second-place result in an individual event and Demong was third the next day. Then came Demong's victory Saturday.

That win meant they topped two three-podium strings by U.S. skiers. Spillane had three top-3s (a second and two thirds) in a 48-hour span, coincidentally in Trondheim, in December 2002. (He eventually went on that season to win the sprint gold medal at the 2003 FIS Nordic World Ski Championships.) A year later, Todd Lodwick had three straight podium performances midway in the 2004 season as he won the German Grand Prix with a victory and two third-place results.

The World Cup tour heads to central Europe next for a mass start Saturday and a hurricane start Sunday in Ramsau, Austria, host of the 1999 World Championships.

Trondheim, NOR - Dec. 9, 2007
Sprint (134m/7.5K)

1. Christoph Bieler, Austria, (3T/15)
2. Jason Lamy Chappuis, France, (3T/17) 0.3 seconds back
3. Bernhard Gruber, Austria, (1/30) 2.4
4. Eric Frenzel, Germany, (2/23) 7.1 (won photo finish)
5. Ronny Ackermann, Germany, (15/4), 7.1
17. Johnny Spillane, Steamboat Springs, CO, (24/6) 50.2
21. Bill Demong, Vermontville, NY, (26/9) 1:08.0
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