PARK CITY, UT (Dec. 11) – Olympic champion Billy Demong (Vermontville, NY) competed in front of a home crowd placing fifth in the nordic combined Continental Cup Saturday, while Germany's Sebastian Reuschel claimed the win in Park City.
It was tough conditions for the international field as they the soared off the jumps at the Utah Olympic Park and skied at Soldier Hollow, sites of the 2002 Olympic Winter Games in Salt Lake City. Snow was soft, forcing a tiring cross country portion of the competition.
Reushel had the longest jump of 130.0 meters heading into the cross country portion and was able to hold off the field at his heels posting the 17th fastest ski time hanging on for the win. Norway's Joergen Graabak was second, with the third fastest time finishing .7 back, with German Wolfgang Boesl rounded out the podium in third, holding the third position after the jumping round.
Billy Demong leads the pack as he charges towards the lead. (U.S. Ski Team)
"The course was very hard because it was so warm. It was very difficult for me. I did better in the first round and then lost power, so I was very happy to finish first," said Reushel of his win. "I'm looking lap-to-lap. I don’t have a strategy – just want to have a good race."
Demong, who sat 17th after the jumps with 105 meters, stepped on the gas catching and then challenging the leaders on the last lap. Demong posted the second fastest ski time, 26:24.20, to make up a 1:40 deficit after the jumps to end 2.1 back.
"This helps my confidence a little bit, period. It was tough over in Europe. I felt really good before I left but the skiing was not as fast as I'm used to. I just didn’t feel as strong as normal," admitted Demong. "Today was definitely a step in the right direction. Going out, leading and skiing my own race was more important than being pulled around. It was pretty good to put down five hard laps.
"It's a little tough to swallow subpar performances right now. I've done a lot of good work the past couple of months and I have high hopes for World Championships in February."
The Continental Cup tour will head to Erzurum, Turkey for the next series of competition Dec. 18-19.
The nordic combined athletes will head to the Utah Olympic Park and Soldier Hollow again on Sunday for another day of competition in Park City.
For complete results: www.fis-ski.com