PARK CITY, Utah (April 25) - The U.S. Nordic Combined Team set new marks in American nordic skiing history as well as personal accomplishments during the 2008 season. Athletes like Bill Demong (Vermontville, NY), who led the team with six podiums and one win, and Johnny Spillane (Steamboat Springs, CO) helped to shape a successful nordic combined season.
Some of the season highlights include:
-Demong finished third in overall standings, marking the best result by a U.S. athlete.
-Spillane grabbed second in the World Cup season opener.
-Eric Camerota (Park City, UT) won on the World Cup B circuit to qualify for World Cup A. Nordic Combined: Demong makes his mark
With six World Cup podium finishes including a win, Demong set a U.S. high water mark on the World Cup but that was just the icing on the cake for a sweet season. His consistent performance throughout the year helped him become the first American on the nordic combined overall World Cup podium when he finished third in the standings.
"It was pretty cool getting called up in front of the King of Norway in the stadium at Holmenkollen," said Demong. "I tried not to think about best ever results during the season. It actually distracts you from being the best. But when you look back at the entire season, third is a success as a skier and to break ground in getting an American on the podium."
"Competing on the entire World Cup makes for a long season, especially for American athletes, and the length of the season really took its toll on Billy," said Nordic Program Director John Farra. "To be able to come away with a third place overall finish for the year was quite an achievement."
Demong went on to defend his title at the 2008 backcountry.com U.S. Nordic Combined Championships.
"I'm happy to defend my title and to carry the level of the World Cup back to the championships," said Demong.
"Clearly this was a great season for Billy," Farra said. "Next year we will be more selective with the races, using them for preparation for the World Championships, where Billy will defend - and hopefully improve upon - his silver medal finish in 2007." Spillane gets back on track
After recovering from shoulder surgery in early spring of 2007, Spillane was determined to be back on top of his game. He started the season with a bang, landing a spot in second at the Kuusamo, Finland World Cup in November.
"It was exciting to see Johnny show what he's really capable of again, in his first healthy season following a string of injuries," Farra said.
It was Spillane's best result since the 2003 season where he was on three podiums within 48 hours, finishing second in a sprint, third in an individual event and third in another sprint before winning the World Championships Sprint title.
There was also some promising movement in the junior ranks as Eric Camerota had two podiums including a win on the World Cup B circuit. His consistent performance throughout the season qualified him to move up to the elite World Cup tour.
"It was important to move another athlete up into the World Cup, which we did with Eric Camerota," Farra said. "Eric has potential, and if we can get him to commit himself fully, we may begin to see some good results out of him already next year."
The Team now moves into the summer training season, which began with a camp at the 2010 Olympic venue in Whistler.