Steamboat Springs All five Americans placed in the top 30 Saturday during the opening event of the 2011 Nordic Combined World Championships in Oslo, Norway.
Billy Demong clocked the fastest cross-country race, finishing seventh, one spot ahead of defending champion and Steamboat Springs skier Todd Lodwick. Fellow Steamboat skiers Johnny Spillane, Bryan Fletcher and Taylor Fletcher were 19th, 22nd and 26th.
Germany’s Eric Frenzel won, with teammate Tino Edelmann second and Austria’s Felix Gottwald third.
Athletes battled heavy fog in the morning jumping portion. Bryan Fletcher jumped to an impressive 10th but fell back in the last couple of laps of the cross-country portion because of fogged-up goggles.
Demong started the cross-country 1:43 back in 29th place, with Lodwick 16th. The two veterans paced themselves through half the race before picking up speed in the second half.
Demong had the fastest cross-country race, Spillane was sixth fastest and Lodwick was 10th fastest.
“I started jumping better this week, but today was obviously not as good as the last few days,” Demong said in a U.S. Ski Team release. “But it’s better than the average for my season, so it’s hard to be really disappointed. In the race, I just went out to see if I could get the fastest time after having a disappointing jump. If nothing else, it’s given me confidence for the rest of the championships. Now I just need to relax and get that jumping better.”
Coach Dave Jarrett complimented the Americans’ wax team for the job they did Saturday. He said with a few more meters on the jumping hill, the Americans would have had a shot at the podium.
“With the points system, another 5 meters could add up to a minute in cross-country,” Jarrett said. “That would have made a big difference today.”
The team returns to action Monday with a team event on the normal hill. Demong, Lodwick, Spillane and Bryan Fletcher are expected to make up the team.
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