Steamboat Springs Hometown Olympic Nordic combined skiers Johnny Spillane and Todd Lodwick had a disappointing day at the Nordic World Ski Championships in Val di Fiemme, Italy, on Friday, finishing 24th and 14th, respectively. The day's event combined scores from K-95 ski jumping and a 15-kilometer cross country ski race.
The event was won by Germany's Ronny Ackermann, who held a big lead after the ski jumping phase and easily claimed the gold by 52 seconds. Felix Gottwald of Austria was second and Samppa Lajunen of Finland was third.
Both of the top Americans were legitimate medal threats going into the competition, but their ski jumping sealed their fate.
Lodwick's first jump of 92 meters was good enough to stand him among the top 10, but he managed to fly just 87 meters on his second jump.
He was strapped with a time penalty of 3 minutes and 28 seconds behind the leader going into the cross country race. He managed to move up three places on the hilly course.
"I had some confidence going into today with the jumping and how I was feeling, especially with the trial round and being fourth," Lodwick said. "I'm stuck in this 12-13-14-16-12-whatever rut at Worlds and Olympics."
Spillane was in 19th after the jumping and 3:52 back. That result took the snow out from under a skier who had climbed World Cup podiums in December.
The results were more encouraging for New Hampshire natives Jed Hinkley (25th) and Carl Van Loan (28th), even though they were farther back in the field. U.S. coach Bard Elden said both Americans took a step forward in terms of personal achievement.
"It was disappointing, for sure, for our two top guys, for Todd and Johnny. But I take my hat off to Jed and Carl; both those two have to happy with their day," Elden said. "On a team, you always have somebody looking good and then somebody not so good, but Jed really did well. I think that looks good for the team event (Monday)."
The skiers will train on the ski jumps today, then rest on Sunday before competing in the team event.