Demong 13th In Windy Kuusamo
KUUSAMO, Finland (Nov. 30) – Bill Demong (Vermontville, NY) and Johnny Spillane (Steamboat Springs, CO) put the hammer down in the cross country portion of their competition, finishing first and third in the race, and 13th and 14th for the day in a nordic combined World Cup Sunday in Kuusamo.
The Finns picked up the top two podium spots with Anssi Koivuranta winning the event and Janne Ryynaenen was second. Japan's Daito Takahashi was third. Koivuranta and Ryynaenen now sit in first and second, respectively, in the World Cup overall standings.
The day initially started out bumpy, with Demong and Spillane tying for 31st in the jumps, which, according to Nordic Combined Head Coach Dave Jarrett, was in large part due to high winds and little on-snow practice time for the athletes
“The whole day was pretty bad weather. It was still really windy and snowing. I would say Bill and Johnny took a step up in jumping, but the results didn't reflect that,” Jarrett said. “The big names were all jumping short today. It was a crazy day on the hill, but that's the way it is.”
But it was Demong and Spillane's domination of the cross country field that helped pull them back to finish in the low teens.
“We were really happy with Bill and Johnny's performance on the cross country side. They did a good job on the jumping today, but the conditions were crazy,' Jarrett said. “They skied a great race, but that's a normal race for those guys. We always expect top five from them because that's where they are on a normal day.”
U.S. athletes Eric Camerota (Park City, UT) and Alex Glueck (Steamboat Springs, CO) also competed with Camerota finishing 19th in the cross country for 39th overall, and Glueck 36th in the cross country for 48th.
“Eric had a pretty good race for himself. He also needs to work on the jumping results and he'll be fighting for top 30 as well,” Jarrett said. “Same with Alex, for that matter. They both have the potential.”
While the Team competes in Trondheim, Norway Dec. 6-7, it heads first to Lillehammer, the site of the 1998 Olympic Games, to put some more on-snow jumping time under its belt.
“We're pretty optimistic, so we're going to go to Lillehammer and get some training in to get ready for Norway next weekend,” Jarrett said. “These guys are all fired up to do some work on the jumping hill and I'm confident we'll be ready to go.”