The U.S. Nordic Combined Ski Team scored an impressive podium finish in a team event in Schonach. Shown here training are Billy Demong, Taylor Fletcher and Bryan Fletcher. (USSA-Sarah Brunson)
SCHONACH, Germany (Jan. 5) - Memories of Olympic silver in Vancouver were rekindled Saturday as the U.S. Nordic Combined Ski Team charged back onto the podium finishing third. It was an historic first World Cup team event podium for the U.S. Ski Team. The USA started sixth in cross country, 57 seconds behind Norway, which ultimately went on to win. The USA slowly moved up through the pack with Bryan Fletcher, Taylor Fletcher, Todd Lodwick (all Steamboat Springs) and Billy Demong (Vermontville, NY) pacing to pass Austria to take third. Action resumes Sunday in Schonach with an individual event.
The U.S. Nordic Combined Team came from behind to finish third in a 4x5k World Cup relay in Schonach. It was the first ever World Cup podium in a team event.
Brothers Bryan and Taylor Fletcher, Todd Lodwick (all Steamboat Springs) and Billy Demong (Vermontville, NY) combined for the podium.
Taylor Fletcher (second leg) and Demong (anchor) each won their respective relay legs.
The USA had a good launching pad for the effort thanks to a strong 94.5 meter jump from Demong, who led his group in jumping.
Taylor Fletcher's 12:39.4 was the fastest cross country leg of the day.
Lodwick and Demong are veterans of the silver medal winning relay team at the Vancouver Olympic Winter Games. The best previous World Cup team event finish came in 2002 at Val di Fiemme when Lodwick, Demong and Matt Dayton (Breckenridge, CO) finished fourth.
Action resumes Sunday with an individual event in Schonach.
QUOTES Taylor Fletcher It feels very good to get this result. Our team had the proper expectations going into the event and were ready to compete. We all had good jumps on the hill and Billy showed he can jump amazing whenever he wants. Everyone has very strong leg in the cross country with Bryan holding the time to the skiers in front, Todd moving up and giving Billy a good shot at the podium. For myself I have been in good shape all year with it getting better after each race. I had to thank my skis as the techs killed the wax and I was able to glide very well and push the pace to catch Japan and France.
This is a major building step for me and I am looking forward to the next races.
Billy Demong Today was a one of those days where you don't have too many expectations but as a team we knew we could break up the podium if we focused on the process and all did what we could. It was super exciting and tactical as we moved through the field. It was never clear that we would podium until it was over but each guy picked up time and places and did the job necessary. It is an historic first relay podium for the U.S. in a World Cup and a great way to get a first podium for the year!
Dave Jarrett, Head Nordic Combined Coach Great work from everyone on the Team. Everyone has been working hard, keeping the faith and knowing this was just around the corner. Now we have the ball rolling and we intend to keep it rolling! The service guys did an awesome job, our skis were very fast.