It was a great day for the U.S. Nordic Combined team, winning their first ever medal – a silver. Austria won the gold.
In the cross country relay portion of the event, Billy Demong of Vermontville, New York had a slight lead over Mario Stecher heading into the stadium, but stumbled at the turn and the Austrian zoomed past him on the straightaway for a 5-second victory. Demong had erased a 14-second deficit he inherited from Johnny Spillane on the final exchange.
The event combines a 4-by-5-kilometer relay following a jump off the large hill.
Before the Vancouver Olympics, the Americans hadn’t medaled in the Nordic sports – that’s biathlon, ski jumping, Nordic combined and cross-country skiing – since cross-country skier Bill Koch in 1976. The U.S. has won two silver Nordic medals in Vancouver.
Disappointment in the giant slalom yesterday, Bode Miller skied out during his first run, and did not finish. Miller was pursuing a record fourth Alpine medal in a single Olympics.
And in the women’s 4 by 6 kilometer biathlon, the U.S. team, including Haley Johnson of Lake Placid, finished in 17th place.
In action today, Andy Newell of Shaftsbury skis again, this time in the 4×10 kilometer relay.