Demong leads US Nordic combined team at World Championships

Team event set for today in Norway

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— All five competing United States skiers finished in the top 30 at the Nordic combined World Championships in Oslo, Norway, a performance highlighted by Billy Demong’s lightning fast cross-country ski race.

Demong finished seventh, logging the fastest skiing time of the competition and moving up 22 spots.

Steamboat Springs skiers fared well.

Todd Lodwick was right on Demong’s heels, finishing less than a second back and in eighth place. Johnny Spillane was 19th, finishing with the sixth-fastest skiing time.

Bryan Fletcher had the best jump of his teammates, starting the cross-country portion of the race in 10th place. He finished 22nd overall. Taylor Fletcher was 26th.

“I was pretty stoked with my jump,” Bryan Fletcher said in a U.S. Ski team press release. “I was able to put together a really solid jump for me which was kind of surprising considering there were so many long jumps in the last round. At the start of the race I felt pretty good. I was pretty solid in the top 10 for the first two laps. It's a little bit frustrating that I fell back as much as I did. But my goal was top 30 in World Championships so this makes me pretty happy. I'm looking forward to the next event.”

Demong started 1 minutes, 43 seconds behind the top jumper. Even the day’s best race wasn’t enough to get him on the podium, however.

“It was crazy – at times I had no idea where I stood,” Demong said in the release.

Germany’s Eric Frenzel landed the days top jump and hung on to win the event. Tino Edelmann, also of Germany, was second and Austria’s Felix Gottwald was third.

“I started jumping better this week but today was obviously not as good as the last few days,” Demong said. “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.”

The championships continue today with the team event. Demong, Lodwick, Spillane and Bryan Fletcher will compete for the United States.

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