PARK CITY, UT (June 4) - Reigning World Championship gold medalists Todd Lodwick (Steamboat Springs, CO) and Billy Demong (Vermontville, NY), along with 2003 World Champion Johnny Spillane (Steamboat Springs, CO) set the bar high as the newly named U.S. Nordic Combined Ski Team enters the 2010 Olympic season.
"The U.S. has established itself as one of the premier nordic combined nations and this team nomination displays our commitment to maintaining our tradition of winning," U.S. Nordic Program Director John Farra said. "With three World Champions, four talented returning athletes, and three rookies making a debut, this is a Team focused on Olympic success for not only this year, but many years to come."
Three athletes were named to the A Team and seven to the B Team. The 2010 Olympic Team, which will be named primarily from current season results, will be announced January 21, 2010.
"The team as a whole has strength in that everyone is working together on a daily basis and making each other better every day. Everyone shares in each other's successes and get better because of them," U.S. Nordic Combined Head Coach Dave Jarrett said. "To have three of the best nordic combined skiers in the world to train with on a daily basis pushes everyone. The success of Todd, Billy and Johnny is what everyone is striving to be on the team. That's the kind of competition we're trying to instill in the group."
With a remarkable return to the sport at the age of 32 after two years of retirement Lodwick had a remarkably historic season which included two World Championship gold medals. Now officially named to the Team, Lodwick provides an integral key to the pursuit of U.S. nordic success in 2010.
"Todd is a veteran and he brings an enthusiasm to the group. He's been good for the guys to be around. He's a definite threat and he proved that in Liberec at World Championships last season," Jarrett said.
Packing both a gold and bronze World Championship medal in his arsenal as well as five World Cup wins from the 2009 season, Demong heads into the 2010 season ahead of the curve with a stronger foundation than he's had in years past.
"He's motivated and he knows the task at hand. He's going into this next season more prepared than he was last season both physically and mentally," Jarrett said. "He knows that anything is possible in Whistler and it's possible to keep on making history like he has been for the past three years."
With a handful of solid top-10 results in the World Cup, Spillane is on track to remain a consistent threat for the podium.
Adding to the Team's potential for success is the nordic combined B Team which hosts seven athletes on the cusp of success on the world's stage. The roster includes Eric Camerota (Park City, UT) who proved his abilities by earning for the fourth spot on the men's relay team at World Championships. Joining Camerota will be his twin Brett, and Bryan Fletcher (Steamboat Springs, CO) who were both a part of the 2009 U.S. World Championships team.
"It's great to see their enthusiasm and hunger to get better. They are enthusiastic and bring a new dynamic to the group," Jarrett said.
The U.S. Nordic Combined Team's training season has already been off to a great start as athletes flock to the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association's new home, the Center of Excellence in Park City.
"Because this team is primarily based out of Park City, the athletes will gain huge training advantage from the use of the Center of Excellence for daily training, testing and recovery in the lead up to the 2010 season," Farra said.
2010 Nordic Combined Ski Team
(including date of birth, hometown and club program; * indicates Olympian):
Billy Demong (3/29/80; Vermontville, NY; Lake Placid Ski Club/Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club)*
Todd Lodwick (11/21/76; Steamboat Springs, CO; Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club)*
Johnny Spillane (11/24/80; Steamboat Springs, CO; Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club)*
Brett Camerota (1/9/85; Park City, UT; National Sports Foundation)*
Eric Camerota (1/9/85; Park City, UT; National Sports Foundation)*
Brett Denney (2/26/90; Steamboat Springs, CO; Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club)
Bryan Fletcher (6/27/86; Steamboat Springs, CO; Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club)
Taylor Fletcher (5/11/90; Steamboat Springs, CO; Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club)
Nick Hendrickson (6/20/91; Park City, UT; Park City Nordic Ski Club)
Alex Miller (12/24/85; Steamboat Springs, CO; Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club)