Demong wins in Whistler

Nordic Combined athlete tops podium in World Cup event

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— Bill Demong capitalized on a massive 134-meter jump to win the Olympic test event World Cup at the Whistler Olympic Park on Friday. The DKB FIS Nordic Combined World Cup win was the fifth of his career and second this season.

The win vaulted Demong back into second in the season standings behind Finland's Anssi Koivuranta, who leads 723-615. Norway's Magnus Moan is close behind Demong with 601.

Demong's 134-meter jump put him into second, starting 29 seconds behind Koivuranta in the cross-country leg. The Finn put up a stubborn battle before Demong finally caught him about 6 kilometers into the 10K event.

"At the halfway mark of the cross-country race, I wasn't sure (I was going) to catch Anssi," Demong said. "I just kept pushing for a runner-up finish. Then, I closed the gap, rested a little bit and prepared the final attack on the last uphill."

The two swapped the lead back and forth before Demong overtook him in the last kilometer and sprinted to an 18.4-second victory with Germany's Bjoern Kircheisen third, another 15 seconds back.

"I feel great," Demong said. "This win is really two things. This is obviously the pre-Olympic World Cup so it's important to know these venues as well as possible before we come next year. And it's also the last weekend before I get a couple weeks off. It's been a long season so far and I'm looking forward to the break and this is a good start to it."

American Todd Lodwick had the third-fastest cross country time, finishing 10th with Johnny Spillane also in the points in 22nd.

Everyone was impressed with the Whistler Olympic Park, which will host Nordic combined, ski jumping, cross country and biathlon. "This is a world-class facility," Demong said. "The hill is great. The cross-country course is good for both skiers and spectators because the course is challenging and you can see it from the stands.

"(The Olympics) is still a year away," he added. "Right now it's a good sign that I'm on the podium at the Olympic venue. I think now we're getting used to the venue for next season."

Action continues today with a second event, this time a single jump on the normal hill in Whistler with another 10K cross country.

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