Demong ends World Cup podium drought

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Billy Demong

— Olympic gold medalist and Steamboat Springs adopted son Billy Demong put an end to a two-year drought Sunday when he placed third in a World Cup Nordic combined race in Val di Fiemme, Italy.

“It feels good to be back on the podium,” Demong said in a release from the U.S. Ski Team. “I hadn’t thought about it until we got to the press conference and realized that the last time I was on a World Cup podium was when we were in Val di Fiemme in 2010 right before the Olympics.”

The American skier who lived and trained in Steamboat Springs for several years was 17th after the jumping portion of Sunday’s individual Gundersen format event but posted the fastest cross-country time on the 10-kilometer track to move up to third place in the final standings. The top finish marked a strong day for the American team, which put four skiers in the top 20 of the World Cup competition.

Steamboat’s Bryan Fletcher finished seventh, Taylor Fletcher was 14th and despite being a little under the weather Johnny Spillane was 19th.

The event was won by Akito Watabe, who after a dominating jumping performance finished three seconds in front of Norway’s Mikko Kokslien. Demong was 3.9 seconds back.

“Seeing Billy on the podium is extra motivation,” Bryan Fletcher said. “I’m extremely excited for him and where we all ended up today.”

U.S. Nordic combined coach Dave Jarrett also was happy with the team’s showing and hopes the results will fuel more success on the World Cup tour before the end of the season.

“(Our guys) did a really good job pacing and not doing too much at the front to help other people,” Jarrett said in the news release. “We’ve been putting a lot of energy into getting it going now and hopefully we can keep it rolling.”

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