OSLO, Norway (March 14) - After long ago having locked up the World Cup overall title, Jason Lamy Chappuis of France closed up the season with a win as he took home the King's Cup at Holmenkollen in Norway on Sunday. Olympic gold medalist Billy Demong (Vermontville, NY) led the way for the U.S. finishing 10th.
"It was kind of a rough day but it's all over now and we're psyched to be done," U.S. Nordic Combinde Head Coach Dave Jarrett said. "These guys are all pretty tired. We were hoping to finish a little better, but it wasn't meant to be today."
According to Jarrett, the competitors faced challenging conditions on Sunday, with alternating head and tailwinds causing the conditions to change second by second and affecting a great number of jumps in the competition.
Demong led the U.S. in the jumping round with 11th but was 1:16 back. Lodwick jumped to 15th with a 1:23 time differential, and Spillane marked 41st at 2:32 back.
"The wind was changing quite a bit. Billy and Todd jumped pretty well and Johnny actually jumped well, but his conditions were difficult," Jarrett said. "It was literally changing second-by-second. Even when there were good conditions in the corridor, it could change by the time they were at the end of the inrun. There are going to be days like that and sometimes you're lucky and sometimes you're not."
But, regardless of the day's competition, Jarrett could not deny the obvious - that the season had been an incredibly remarkable one for the U.S., noting, "We were focused on the Olympics and we went there and did what we needed to do."
In its history as an Olympic competition, no U.S. athlete had ever garnered a medal at the Games in the sport of nordic combined until 2010 when the U.S. won four. It all began with Spillane making history as he took the silver in the normal hill event and earning the U.S. its first medal. From there, the U.S. put it on the line in the team event to finish with yet another silver medal for the four men competing. And, finally, Demong led the late charge in the large hill event for an astounding gold, which was accompanied that day by another silver for Spillane.
It was a moment of breakthrough for the team that its athletes hope will carry the progression of their sport.
And now, the Olympic heroes are aiming to finish the year as any medalists would - breaking another record as they head off to forerun World Ski Flying Championships in Planica, Slovenia.
"Those guys are hoping to get a personal record. There's only one hill where you can jump as far as that," Jarrett said. "They're going to get an opportunity to forejump at the beginning of this week with a little more speed than they're going to have at the competition and try to get a record."
FIS Nordic Combined World Cup
Oslo, Norway - March 14, 2010
1. Jason Lamy Chappuis, France (2/19) 25:58.3
2. Felix Gottwald, Austria (18/1) +14.5
3. Magnus Moan, Norway (13/2) +30.8
4. Mario Stecher, Austria (4/20) +31.1
5. Bernhard Gruber, Austria (6/23) +57.3
10. Billy Demong, Vermontville, NY (11/17) +1:13.0
12. Todd Lodwick, Steamboat Springs, CO (15/14) +1:13.5
32. Johnny Spillane, Steamboat Springs, CO (41/25) +2:48.0
58. Nick Hendrickson, Park City, UT (62/41) +5:34.3