Billy Demong leads a strong U.S. Nordic Combined Ski Team (USSA/Tom Kelly)
PARK CITY, UT (Oct. 24) - Decorated Olympic and World Championship medalists Billy Demong (Vermontville, NY), Johnny Spillane (Steamboat Springs, CO) and Todd Lodwick (Steamboat Springs, CO) highlight a roster of some of the world's top athletes for the just-named 2012 U.S. Nordic Combined Ski Team.
Further adding to the strength of the U.S. Ski Team's nordic program are veteran ski jumpers Jessica Jerome and Lindsey Van (both Park City, UT) who have been named to the U.S. Ski Jumping Team. Both are members of the Visa Women's Ski Jumping Team, a part of Women's Ski Jumping USA.
"The team is good, everyone's healthy and we have a good mix of the big guys and new guys coming in," said U.S. Nordic Combined Head Coach Dave Jarrett. "We're looking for success on the World Cup and the Continental Cup this year."
A total of seven athletes fill out the nordic combined Team roster, all of which are looking forward to a season of steady success on the World Cup.
"Last year I took it a little easier after the Olympics, so this is my year back where I've been training really hard," said Demong. "I've had good summer training and good competitions in Germany a couple weeks ago, so I'm pretty fired up for the season. I feel like I'm embarking on a new journey."
Demong, who finished a solid sixth at the 2011 World Championships is joined on the A Team roster by fellow Olympic medalists Spillane and Lodwick. Also joining the powerhouse trio is Bryan Fletcher (Steamboat Springs, CO) who had a successful season in 2011 when he marked himself as the top American on the World Ranking List during his first full season on the World Cup circuit.
"Bryan certainly is representative of our system because he's been in it a long time," said Jarrett. "Every season he's made steps to achieving more and more. He's taken another step and closed the gap between the top guys. We have high hopes for him."
Laying the foundation for the program on the B Team is Brett Denney (Steamboat Springs, CO), who raked in the Continental Cup points in the 2011 season, top 30 World Cup and World Championships finisher Taylor Fletcher (Steamboat Springs, CO) and Nick Hendrickson (Park City, UT), who earned a career fourth Junior World Championship top-20 result in 2011.
The ski jumpers share optimism as they set out for the inaugural season of the World Cup after learning earlier this year that women's ski jumping has been added to the roster for the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi.
"We have the first ever World Cup this year, so I am really looking forward to that and I think there are some good events on the schedule," Jerome said. "I know that everyone's been working hard, so things are going to be as they always are - ultra competitive."
Jerome, who most recently notched yet another U.S. title in the large hill U.S. Championships event, said she is eager for the sport to progress yet another season with the inaugural year of the women's World Cup and more women investing their time in competition.
"The sport is moving forward and it's good for Lindsey and I and really promising for up-and-coming girls," said Jerome. "I think the field of younger jumpers is going to be really competitive and very deep."
Outfitted in their official Bjørn Dæhlie competition wear, the U.S. Nordic Combined Team will kick off the DKB FIS Nordic Combined World Cup on Nov. 25 in Kuusamo, Finland. Women's ski jumping will roll out its World Cup season the following weekend, Dec. 2, in Lillehammer, Norway.
2012 U.S. Nordic Combined Ski Team Name, Hometown, Club (Skis (jumping/cross country), Boots (jumping/cross country), Bindings, Poles) Date of Birth * Indicates Olympian **Indicates Westminster College student
A Team Billy Demong, Vermontville, NY, New York Ski Education Foundation (Atomic, Rass/Atomic, Atomic, Swix) 3/29/80* Bryan Fletcher, Steamboat Springs, CO, Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club (Elan/Madshus, Rass/Madshus, Rotefella, Madshus) 6/27/86 Todd Lodwick, Steamboat Springs, CO, Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club (Atomic, Rass/Atomic, Atomic, Swix) 11/21/76* Johnny Spillane, Steamboat Springs, CO, Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club (Atomic, Atomic, Atomic, Swix) 11/24/80*
B Team Brett Denney, Steamboat Springs, CO, Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club (Elan/Madshus, Rass/Alpina, Rotefella) 2/26/90 Taylor Fletcher, Steamboat Springs, CO, Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club (Atomic, Rass/Atomic, Atomic) 5/11/90* ** Nick Hendrickson, Park City, UT, Park City Nordic Ski Club (Elan/Madshus, Rass/Alpina, Rottefella, Swix) 6/20/91**
2012 U.S. Ski Jumping Team Name, Hometown, Club (Skis, Boots, Bindings) Date of Birth **Indicates Westminster College student
Jessica Jerome, Park City, UT, Women's Ski Jumping USA/Visa Women's Ski Jumping Team (Elan, Jalas, Win-Air/Slatnar) 2/8/87** Lindsey Van, Park City, UT, Women's Ski Jumping USA/Visa Women's Ski Jumping Team (Fluege, Rass, Win-Air) 11/27/84