After being selected as the fourth member of the U.S. nordic combined team’s relay squad, the pressure was all on Brett Camerota’s shoulders this morning as he took to the top of the jump.
He didn’t disappoint, coming through with his best-ever leap on the big hill here in Whistler and setting up the Americans for another podium finish this afternoon, after Johnny Spillane’s silver last week. The team will start the 4×5 k relay in second place, just two seconds behind Finland, with rival Austria nearly 35 seconds behind. Japan, France, Germany and Norway are also all within striking distance.
“That was my furthest jump, and it was in competition…so I’m very happy,” Camerota said. “A lot of pressure, since I’m the fourth guy. We all want this medal so bad, and they’ve been trying so long to get it.”
With three world-class skiers in Billy Demong, Johnny Spillane, and Todd Lodwick, the team will again be relying on Camerota to come up big. The 25-year-old has upped his skiing over the last year, and if he can hold on for his leg, the U.S. should have no problems contending for the podium–even a gold.
The order of the Americans in the relay could have a big impact on the outcome of the race, and the team has not yet determined who will ski each leg. Look for a start list or an update on the Olympics blog.
Nathaniel Herz is a reporter for FasterSkier, who also covers city government for the Anchorage Daily News in Alaska. You can follow him on twitter @nat_herz.