PARK CITY, Utah (Jan. 26) – Billy Demong (Vermontville, NY) and Lindsey Van (Park City, UT) headline a team of six nordic combined skiers and six ski jumpers named by the U.S. Ski Team to compete in the upcoming FIS Nordic Ski World Championships in Liberec, Czech Republic. The team includes four women ski jumpers who will take part in the historic debut of their participation in the sport at the World Championship level.
Demong leads what is considered to be the strongest overall U.S. nordic combined team ever. Also on the squad are 2003 World Champion Johnny Spillane (Steamboat Springs, CO) and returning four-time Olympian Todd Lodwick (Steamboat Springs, CO), who recorded a pair of podiums in his first World Cups after sitting out for two full seasons.
The Team is rounded out by twins Brett and Eric Camerota (Park City, UT) and Bryan Fletcher (Steamboat Springs, CO).
Van will go into the World Championships on the strength of her best season ever, coming off a win in Germany in mid-January to put her into the lead in the Continental Cup standings. She is joined by three teammates including Continenal Cup podium performers Jessica Jerome and Alissa Johnson (both Park City), as well as 14 year old Sarah Hendrickson. Jerome has 16 career Continental Cup podiums. Johnson won a Cup event last fall.
"Our nordic combined athletes have a great opportunity at World Championships this year," said U.S. Ski Team Nordic Director John Farra. "Billy, Todd and Johnny have each shown they can challenge for the podium this year. And with the progress our younger athletes have been making, we're also excited about our chances in the four-man team event."
The inclusion of women on the World Championships program is yet another milestone in the more than decade long growth of the sport internationally for women. The USA has been a leader in its progress, which saw it being approved for World Championship inclusion by the International Ski Federation in 2006.
"Our program support for the women the last two years has been focused on being competitive at the World Championships," said Farra. "During that time, Lindsey, Jessica and Alissa have each stepped up to show they can jump to the podium. At the same time, the sport has grown immensely with new athletes and nations challenging for wins. You'll see these world class athletes put on a great show in Liberec."
Two men were also named to the Team including 2006 Olympian Anders Johnson (Park City, UT) and Nick Fairall (Andover, NH), who recently scored the best U.S. World Cup finish in five seasons.
The World Championships are scheduled Feb. 18-March 1 in Liberec, north of Prague. The women make their debut on Friday, Feb. 20.
2009 U.S. Nordic World Ski Championships Team
Brett Camerota, 1/9/85, Park City, UT * **
Eric Camerota, 1/9/85, Park City, UT * **
Billy Demong, 3/29/80, Vermontville, NY * **
Bryan Fletcher, 6/27/86, Steamboat Springs, CO
Todd Lodwick, 11/21/76, Steamboat Springs, CO * **
Johnny Spillane, 11/24/80, Steamboat Springs, CO * **
Ski Jumping – Men
Nick Fairall, 7/6/89, Andover, NH
Anders Johnson, 4/23/89, Park City, UT **
Ski Jumping – Women
Sarah Hendrickson, 8/1/94, Park City, UT
Jessica Jerome, 2/8/87, Park City, UT
Alissa Johnson, 5/28/87, Park City, UT
Lindsey Van, 11/27/84, Park City, UT
* Past World Championship Team
* Past Olympian