Johnny Spillane finished a modest 24th in his first nordic combined sprint event at Val di Fiemme earlier this week, but he made history today. After sitting in fourth place following the ski jumping portion of the competition, Spillane skied himself into the lead. Four kilometers into the 7.5 kilometer race, the 22 year-old Spillane made contact with German skiers Ronny Ackermann and Georg Hettich and Austrian skier Felix Gottwald. He told reporters he was really tired once he finally reached the group, but was able to rest a little when the three Europeans could not decide who should pull the group in to the finish.
Towards the end of the race, Spillane tried to jump clear of the others on an uphill but couldn't make the move stick. He had better luck in the final sprint, where he simply skied away and crossed the line as the United States' first-ever World Champion in a nordic event!