RAMSAU, Austria (Dec. 21) – The U.S. Ski Team’s Billy Demong (Vermontville, NY) marked another day of success in Ramsau, finishing second in a World Cup nordic combined event Sunday. Demong won Saturday’s competition and has moved up into third place in the World Cup standings.
“It was a lot of fun fighting for the victory again and finishing second was a good way to finish it off,” Demong said. “It was a pretty exciting finish. The first three guys finished within .5 seconds of eachother. I was in a group of guys fighting for the victory and I really went for it. It was really close and Bjoern [Kircheisen, Germany] went for it with less than 10 meters to go and just barely squeaked by.”
Kircheisen won the event, finishing 10th in the jumps and third in cross country.
Rain and sleet in Ramsau forced organizers to cancel the round of jumping on Sunday and use a provisional round recorded during training earlier in the week in which Demong was seventh.
“Jumping went really well this weekend,” Demong said. “Yesterday was one of my better jumping results in the last few years and I had a good race.”
According to U.S. Nordic Combined Coach Chris Gilbertson, the consistency in Demong’s weekend performance is an affirmation that his summer training has paid off.
“It just proves that we’re doing the things right that we need to do and it helps build momentum,” Gilbertson said. “When everything is working right, it just keeps building on itself.”
Johnny Spillane (Steamboat Springs, CO), the only other U.S. athlete to compete, finished 27th.
For Demong, who has spent a lot of time competing there, being in Ramsau is like being at a second home.
“Ramsau has been a historical place for me. This was my first competition in Europe circa August 1997 in which I jumped to fourth in a summer Grand Prix much to everyone’s and my own surprise,” Demong said. “It’s also site of my first jumping victory, summer Grand Prix in 1999. So, I had a couple more firsts here in Ramsau and it is a little bit like coming home.”
Demong, along with the rest of the Team, will remain in Ramsau through Christmas before moving on to Oberhof, Germany, for competitions Dec. 27-28. They will be joined in Germany by Todd Lodwick (Steamboat Springs, CO) who swept the Continental Cups in Park City, UT, last weekend, as well as Brett and Eric Camerota (Park City, UT).
“We’re excited to have a full Team again. It will just add to the enthusiasm and excitement that we’re carrying out of Ramsau,” Gilbertson said.
“Right now what I want to focus on a little more is getting some cross country training in. I just need to get some good sleep and good skiing in and take it to Oberhof,” Demong added.