Podium streak ends for Spillane, Demong | SteamboatToday.com

Podium streak ends for Spillane, Demong

Luke Graham

Steamboat Springs — The streak of American podium finishes at this year's Nordic combined World Cup was bound to end. — The streak of American podium finishes at this year's Nordic combined World Cup was bound to end.

— The streak of American podium finishes at this year’s Nordic combined World Cup was bound to end.

During the second day of competition in Trondheim, Norway, U.S. Nordic combined skiers Johnny Spillane and Billy Demong struggled with the jumping portion, finishing 17th and 21st, respectively.

Previously, the two Americans and Steamboat Springs athletes had made the podium at four straight World Cup events, the longest U.S. streak since the inception of the World Cup in 1984.

The four-podium streak began at Holmenkollen in Oslo last March, when Demong was third in a sprint that ended the 2007 season. Last weekend, Spillane opened the 2008 season with a second-place result in an individual event, and Demong was third the next day. Then came Demong’s victory Saturday.

“The boys put together a good streak, and today was a wake-up call for them,” U.S. coach Lasse Ottesen said in a news release. “They know this isn’t their level, but it’s also a reminder that, as we’ve discussed all along, we have to go out every competition and start over. Nobody gives us podiums based on what we did yesterday or a week ago. It’s always a new day with new chances. These podiums have come because of hard work.”

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Both Americans had trouble on their lone jump, then made up time in the 7.5-kilometer race.

Spillane had the sixth-fastest race and moved up from 24th after the skiing. Demong went from 26th in the jumping to take 21st.

Austrian Christoph Bieler edged Jason Lamy Chappuis of France by three-tenths of a second for the win.

“Everyone wants to beat Billy and Johnny now. They’re targets because they’ve won and been on the podium,” Ottesen said. “It was good to see Johnny skiing so well in the race after that stomach bug he had yesterday. He’s healthy again.”

The four-podium streak eclipsed a couple of three-podium streaks by American skiers.

In 2002, Spillane had three top 3’s in a 48-hour span. In 2004, Steamboat’s Todd Lodwick had three straight podium performances, winning the German Grand Prix and finishing third on two other occasions.

The World Cup tour now heads to Ramsau, Austria – host of the 1999 World Championships – for a mass start Saturday and a hurricane start Sunday.