STEAMBOAT SPRINGS, CO (July 7) - World Champion Billy Demong (Vermontville, NY) kicked off his Independence Day with a big win as he took top honors at the annual 4th of July nordic combined competition in Steamboat Springs this weekend.
The competition consisted of a small hill jump and a 3K street sprint. Demong was joined on the podium by fellow World Champion and hometown hero Todd Lodwick (Steamboat Springs, CO) in second and Brett Camerota (Park City, UT) in third.
According to the winner, while the competition wasn't an indicator of where he's at athletically, he's happy to have come out on top after a head to head battle to the finish with Lodwick.
"It's not a super serious competition in terms of what it means for our fitness. It's a small ski jump and a small race, but it is, none the less, a competition," Demong said. "I was excited to put down a good jump and to hold off Todd Lodwick in the sprint at the finish. It was definitely a little confidence boost."
The event was showcased with the 4th of July parade in Steamboat as athletes raced the 3K portion of the competition up and down the city's main street in front of their annual Independence Day parade.
For Demong, it was a perfect chance to give the people of Steamboat a taste of U.S. nordic combined skiing.
"You get around 4,000 spectators and a group of about 30 nordic combined athletes sprinting back and forth up and down the main drag. It's a good opportunity to showcase the sport," Demong said.
The event marked the end of a week-long training camp for the U.S. Nordic Combined Ski Team where seasoned athletes were able to train alongside the future stars of the sport.
"It is our annual training camp that we kick off the summer with. We've all been together, but we're bringing in a new group of younger athletes. We trained together every day all week," Demong said. "It culminates with a fun competition on the 4th of July, which is a fun end to a great training camp."
Demong added that Steamboat is a perfect place for the Team to train and compete because of its ties with the sport.
"I want to thank Steamboat and the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club for hosting this camp again," Demong said. "It really is a community that fosters our team and it's really exciting to be over there with all of our support crew cheering everyone on."
Next up for Demong, along with Lodwick, Camerota and Johnny Spillane (Steamboat Springs, CO) is jumping, skating and some cycling in France.
"We go to France for two weeks to get back on some bigger hills with some international teams. We're going to do a mixture of ski jumping and some lower altitude speed work," Demong said. "We're also going to have an opportunity to ride our bikes on some of the Tour de France spaces for a little bit. It will be a great way to get some cross training and see the best cyclists in the world up close."
The rest of the Team will continue with their summer training programs at the Center of Excellence in Park City.