VANCOUVER, BC (Feb. 26) - The U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC) announced Thursday that Olympic gold medalist Billy Demong (Vermontville, NY) has been selected as flag bearer for the 2010 U.S. Olympic Team for the Closing Ceremony by fellow members of Team USA. Demong, 29, had a Thursday filled with excitement, which included winning a gold medal, being named flag bearer, and proposing to his girlfriend.
"Being chosen as flag bearer is a phenomenal honor," Demong said. "It could have been any one of my teammates, and it is meaningful that our peers are taking notice of what we've achieved."
Demong becomes the fourth U.S. skier to carry the flag at Closing, the last being 1984 Olympic slalom champion Phil Mahre.
Demong was notified of the selection by cross country skier Kikkan Randall (Anchorage) on Thursday night during a celebration for the Team at Spyder U.S. Ski Team House. Earlier in the day, he made history by winning the USA's first-ever nordic combined gold medal in the large hill competition with a time of 25:32.9, four seconds ahead of teammate Johnny Spillane (Steamboat Springs, CO). Demong's celebration continued Thursday night when he proposed to girlfriend Katie Koczynski.
"I don't remember too much - it's been a whirlwind of a day," he said. "I think people have really found out how exciting our sport can be, and these Games have been a fantastic way for everything to come to fruition."
Competing in his fourth Olympic Winter Games, Demong captured two medals in Vancouver. In addition to Thursday's gold medal, he joined teammates Spillane, Todd Lodwick (Steamboat Springs, CO) and Brett Camerota (Park City, UT) to win silver in the nordic combined team 4x5k relay on Tuesday. Spillane also won silver in the normal hill/10k competition, while Demong finished sixth in the event. The medals were the first in U.S. Olympic nordic combined history.
Growing up near Lake Placid, NY, Demong made his first Olympic team in 1998 at age 17, and participated in his first World Championships the following year. He competed in the 2002 and 2006 Games, and last year, he won a gold medal at the 2009 World Championships to follow his silver two years earlier.
The Closing Ceremony begins at 5:30 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 28, at BC Place in Vancouver.
U.S. OLYMPIC WINTER TEAM FLAG BEARERS - CLOSING CEREMONY
1960 Donald McDermott, Speedskating
1964 Jean Saubert, Skiing
1972 Barbara Ann Cochran, Skiing
1976 Sheila Young Ochowicz, Speedskating
1980 Eric Heiden, Speedskating
1984 Phil Mahre, Skiing
1988 Bonnie Blair, Speekskating
1992 Bonnie Blair, Speedskating
1994 Dan Jansen, Speedskating
1998 Cammi Granato, Ice Hockey
2002 Brian Shimer, Bobsled
2006 Joey Cheek, Speedskating
2010 Billy Demong, Nordic Combined