Tag Archive | "Nordic Combined"

Team USA Interview w/Billy Demong

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May 31, 2013 – Check out a great interview with 2010 Nordic Combined Olympic Gold Medalist Billy Demong (USA). Steve Mesler of the 2010 gold medal winning four-man bobsled team does the interviewing honours as Demong reflects on Vancouver 2010 and articulates his feelings on the lead-up to Sochi 2014 as defending champion. “This year I didn’t medal at World Championships (individually), and for sure didn’t kill it, and I think that makes me more motivated for sure,” says Demong… read the interview HERE.

NNF and CXC Academy Announce Partnership

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May 30, 2013 (Salt Lake City, UT) – The National Nordic Foundation, America’s grassroots Nordic foundation, and CXC Academy, an online training subscription service are partnering up for the 2013/14 season. CXC Academy will be contributing 50% of new annual training subscription to the National Nordic Foundation for the coming season.

We at the NNF are so thankful for programs like the CXC Academy who are stepping forward to support the NNF in its quest to provide opportunities and support to our developing American Nordic skiers.

This is a great opportunity for skiers of all abilities to get back to training with a focus for the 2013/14 ski season and at the same time support America’s developing Cross-Country and Nordic Combined skiers.

The National Nordic Foundation (NNF) is a grassroots, 501(c)3 organization that supports our developing American Cross-Country and Nordic Combined skiers. This past season through the support of our American Nordic community the NNF was able to support 69 athletes with European racing opportunities in addition to domestic training camps and competitions.

CXC Academy is a program of Central Cross Country Ski Association (CXC Skiing) and online subscription service that provides professional training plans and instructional videos for cross country skiers of all ages and skill levels. Whether you are a beginner skier looking to finish your first 5K, a Master skier training for a big ski event, or simply looking to improve your overall strength and fitness, we have a training program to meet your goals.

For more about these organizations go to:

USA Men’s Nordic Combined Team 7th in Relay as Germany Scores Victory in Russia

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February 04, 2013 (Krasnaya Polyana, Russia) – The FIS Nordic Combined World Cup wrapped up Sunday as the final test of the RusSki Gorki jumping complex prior to the 2014 Olympic Winter Games. The USA was seventh in the 4x5k team event with Germany taking the win. Skiing second, Taylor Fletcher (Steamboat Springs, CO) posted the fastest cross country time on his leg. The U.S. Ski Team will skip next weekend’s World Cup in Kazhakstan to prepare for the upcoming World Championships.

Taylor Fletcher (Steamboat Springs, CO) had the fastest second leg of the 4x5k team event as the USA finished seventh behind Germany.

The U.S was eighth in the jump with Bryan Fletcher (Steamboat Springs, CO) getting the long ride at 128.5. The USA started 55 seconds behind Germany in cross country.

Bryan Fletcher (Steamboat Springs, CO) led off moving up a spot to seventh, with brother Taylor then bumping it up to fifth. Johnny Spillane (Steamboat Springs, CO) ran third with Billy Demong (Vermontville, NY) anchoring the relay to seventh.

It was the final test for nordic combined on the RusSki Gorki complex where both the jumping and cross country shared the same venue. Athletes skied a serpentine course through the outrun of the jump and out onto a cross country trail network built into the hillside.

After days of clouds and heavy snow at times, the sun broke through for a clear sky day in Krasnaya Polyana, 45 minutes outside Sochi.

The U.S. Ski Team will take a break from the World Cup to prepare for the upcoming World Championships.

Billy Demong:
Team USA stepped up its game today. We were right in the hunt with about eight other teams that were very very close together throughout the whole race. We were close enough to know how close we really are. In our Worlds preparation, that’s really important and obviously also for next year’s Olympics. Today the weather broke. We were under bright sunny skies. The jumps are situated within a magnificent mountain backdrop. We are starting to see the venue and the valley take shape where next year I think Sochi will not only be ready for the Olympic Games but also will have put on the final window dressing on and made it to a point where the world will get a snapshot of Russia that will define what a lot of people think about Russia for the coming years.

What I took away from the weekend was that the most important things for me were not only getting comfortable with this place, but also with the competition venues and mostly where I am and where I need to be a year from now.

Results HERE.

Seventh for USA’s Fletcher Duo in Nordic Combined Chaux-Neuve WCup

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January 14, 2013 (Chaux-Neuve, France) – Brothers Bryan and Taylor Fletcher (Steamboat Springs, CO) paired up to finish seventh in a FIS Nordic Combined World Cup team sprint in Chaux-Neuve. The brothers jumped to 13th and slowly moved up through the pack for the top 10 finish. The World Cup now heads to Seefeld, Austria for a pair of events next weekend.

Germany’s Eric Frenzel and Tino Edelmann won the contest by 1.4 seconds over their closest rivals, Team Norway. The hometown favorite French team was third.

Billy Demong (Vermontville, NY) and Johnny Spillane (Steamboat Springs, CO) were 13th.

Bryan Fletcher
Today was a fun day. Personally I was a little disappointed with my jumping today, however I was pumped with Taylor’s performance both on the jump hill and in the cross country. I have not felt that great in cross country throughout the weekend however today I was able to hang tough and keep us moving up throughout the second half of the race. I am really proud of Taylor and his performance lately. He is really starting to step it up and he is without a doubt one of the strongest guys on the cross country course day in and day out.

Personally it’s very fun to race with my brother and I hope to do it more often. This is the second time this season we have been a team together and both times I think we have surprised ourselves with what we are capable of even if we don’t have a perfect day.

Taylor Fletcher
It was a pretty decent day for both of us. I had a pretty solid jump and a pretty good race as well. Bryan had a great race and hung though when the speed was turned up. We moved up about as far as we really could! The top jumpers really showed themselves today which put some time between packs. Racing with Bryan is a lot of fun. We keep improving with each race and hope to get a podium before the end of the year.

Full results HERE.

NNF Nordic Comibined Matching Grant – Less Than Two Weeks Left to Donate!

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November 07, 2012 – Athletes, coaches, and parents who see what an amazing sport Nordic Combined is, and know (or are learning) how much of an undertaking it is to become a World Class skier, you are the American Nordic Combined family. You are all invested in the success of American Nordic Combined, both today and in the years to come.

You all know the story, our top athletes are well funded, our developing athletes receive little to none. Who knows what the funding picture will look like in the years to come?

There are just under two weeks remaining in the Drive for 25 (D25) fundraiser. To those of you have gotten involved by signing up as a D25 Ambassador and reaching out to others and/or by donating yourself. Thank you!

Those who have not, American Nordic Combined needs your help.

A group of people who see the need and potential of American Nordic Combined skiing have come together and pooled $15,000 to match up to $15,000, dollar for dollar, during the final 2 weeks of the Drive for 25 (November 15th).

We have less than two weeks to make this happen and to do it we need you all involved.

The more we raise the more we can fund.

To get started and set up your Ambassador HERE.

If you already have a page set up, keep/start spreading the message.

Nordic Combined Matching Grant
A match is on the table for Nordic Combined!

A group of people who see the need and potential of American Nordic Combined skiing have come together and pooled $15,000 to match up to $15,000, dollar for dollar, during the final 2 weeks of the Drive for 25 (November 15th)

Let’s leverage this challenge into $30,000 to support our developing American Nordic Combined athletes to make sure they will have the opportunities they need to build upon the success that Billy, Johnny, Todd, and Bryan have put together.

We can make this happen.

To donate today and take advantage of this opportunity click HERE.

Adam Loomis Insights
My progress from an aspiring junior athlete to a US Ski Team athlete has been directly enabled by the NNF. A few years ago, US Nordic Combiners were either supported by the US Ski Team, or not financially supported at all. Now, as the Ski Team isn’t able to fund all of its athletes and developing athletes, the NNF is stepping in to help cover costs. This branch of funding creates a bridge for athletes to continue past high school towards the A-team level.

After high school I spent two years training in Steamboat Springs, CO. Last year, I was a member of the National Training Group (NTG). The NTG benefits from coaching and training with the USST, but isn’t funded financially. As a NTG member, I spent a month training in Europe in August and traveled to Europe to compete twice in the winter. We also competed in Chicago, Lake Placid, Park City and Whistler, BC last season. It’s easy to see that this kind of travel schedule would be nearly impossible to afford without some sort of outside financial support. This where is where the NNF made all the difference, chipping in to make these trips feasible.

This year, as a member of the US Ski Team, many costs, like coaching are covered. Our European training camps this winter and the upcoming competitions of this winter, however, are not all paid for by the Ski Team. As the NNF continues to grow, we are able to cover more of these costs. I cannot stress enough how beneficial the NNF’s fundraising has been to my career, and it’s equally vital to the entire sport. Someday, I hope that we have the financial resources to cover equipment, coaching and travel costs for all National level Nordic Combined athletes. A huge part of this is the greater community reaching out and supporting its athletes. This support has been awesome to see, and I hope it continues to grow in the future.

There are less that 2 weeks to go in the Drive for 25. The support our athletes has seen so far has been unbelievable but we still have so much to do and to provide our athletes with the support they need to make their and our American Nordic dreams a reality.

Swag for Ambassadors
We have some amazing gear to give away to our top Ambassadors from our sponsors. U23 and Junior Ambassadors who raise $100 will receive a NNF buff from Podiumwear. Ambassadors who rase $250 will receive a NNF headband by Mt. Borah.

The mission of the National Nordic Foundation (NNF) is to provide support for the athlete development pipeline of US Cross Country and Nordic Combined skiing. The NNF accomplishes this development goal through raising funds and distribution to our “Pillar Projects” that serve the next generation of athletes who represent the United States on the World Stage.

The NNF is a not-for-profit foundation that serves it’s mission to provide funding and support for key Pillar Projects in the Nordic Community.

Support Tomorrow’s Nordic Stars Today.

For more info, email: NationalNordicFoundation@gmail.com

USSA Athlete Spotlight – Taylor Fletcher UPDATED

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October 22, 2012 – Taylor Fletcher was recently named to the 2013 U.S. Nordic Combined A-Team. Like brother Bryan, Taylor keeps improving every year. After a strong 2011 season, Taylor stepped it up again in 2012 with six Continental Cup podiums in seven races, multiple points-scoring World Cups and a career best 14th on the 2013 World Championships course in Italy. Taylor was named the 2013 U.S. Nordic Combined A-Team not the B-team as initially received from USSA. The updated team notice is here. -ed.

Already known as one of the strongest cross country skiers on the Team, Taylor continued to improve his jumping in 2012. His pathway to the Team came after two seasons of solid finishes at the U.S. Championships, and a top 15 finish at World Juniors, joining brother Bryan on the Team and then earning a spot on the 2010 Olympic Team where he competed in both nordic combined and ski jumping.

Name: Taylor William Fletcher

Sport: Nordic combined

Hometown: Steamboat Springs, CO

Current Location: Park City, Utah

School: Westminster College

How/when did you decide you wanted to compete:?
Taylor Fletcher: When I was born, it was the sport to do in my hometown. I felt like I was pretty good at it, and things are getting there!

Biggest accomplishment in your career so far?
TF: Being a part of the Olympic team and World Championship team.

Goals for next season?
TF: Medals at world championships and World Cup podiums.

Favorite snow destination?
TF: Oslo, Norway is the birthplace of my sport! People really care for it there!

Favorite non-snow destination?
TF: Courchevel, France. Amazing biking and fun jump hills, and tasty cheese!

If you weren’t a professional athlete what would you be?
TF: Hard to say! Most likely a student!

Time you’ve been most scared in your life?
TF: Hard to say, I do get scared easy, but nothing stands out. I was the most nervous when I competed in the Vancouver Olympics!

What you do you when you are not training or competing?
TF: I am mostly sleeping to recover from training and competitions, But hanging out with friends is good time!

Biggest vice?
TF: Probably eating! That or sleeping.

Biggest pet peeve?
TF: Loud eating! I can’t stand it, please chew with your mouth closed!

Advice to others who want to follow in your footsteps?
TF: Give it a try. If you like it do the work, things will pay off and you’ll have a great time!

U.S. Nordic Combined Team Names Stacked 2013 Squad

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October 19, 2012 (Predazzo, Italy) – With a strong summer of preparation behind, the U.S. Nordic Combined Ski Team has its sights set on the 2013 World Championships and the Olympics in Sochi just a year away. A talented squad of 10 athletes, including three newcomers, was officially named during a final pre-season tune-up camp on the World Championship jumps in Italy following a camp at the Center of Excellence in Utah. A-Teamers Billy Demong (Vermontville, NY), Todd Lodwick (Steamboat Springs, CO) and Johnny Spillane (Steamboat Springs, CO) together account for a dozen Olympic and World Championship medals, along with Bryan Fletcher’s (Steamboat Springs, CO) stunning season-ending victory in the King’s Cup at Holmenkollen in Norway.

– The U.S. Nordic Combined Ski Team named 10 athletes to its 2012-13 squad led by Olympic medalists Billy Demong (Vermontville, NY), Todd Lodwick (Steamboat Springs, CO) and Johnny Spillane (Steamboat Springs, CO) and King’s Cup winner Bryan Fletcher (Steamboat Springs, CO).
– Together, Demong, Lodwick and Spillane account for a dozen Olympic and World Championship medals.
– Bryan Fletcher established himself as a major contender last season, steadily building up to a breakthrough win in the final World Cup at Holmenkollen, taking the prestigious King’s Cup.
– Three newcomers were added to the B Team including Adam Loomis (Eau Claire, WI), Erik Lynch (Steamboat Springs, CO) and Michael Ward (Aspen, CO).
– The FIS World Cup season opens Nov. 24-25 on the Olympic venue in Lillehammer, Norway.
– The FIS Nordic Ski World Championships return to Val di Fiemme, Italy Feb. 20-Mar. 3, the site of Spillane’s breakthrough World Championship gold 10 years ago.
– Five Team athletes are enrolled in the U.S. Ski Team’s partnership program with Westminster College in Salt Lake City including Brett Denney, Bryan Fletcher, Taylor Fletcher, Nick Hendrickson and Adam Loomis.
– Following a successful camp at the USSA Center of Excellence, Utah Olympic Park and Soldier Hollow in Utah, the Team was in Predazzo, Italy for a final tune-up on the World Championship jumps in Val di Fiemme.

Billy Demong, Olympic champion
This is a team with great depth – never in history have we had ten nordic combined guys who are so close. The first time trial of the year I was seventh but not even a minute back in a race 25 minutes long. We’ve had different guys take the lead over the course of the summer to push the team in training but especially Bryan (Fletcher) who has continued to be a yardstick on the jump hill, while his brother (Taylor Fletcher) is the toughest on the cross country side.

I am still following the roadmap I laid out after Vancouver. After a year almost off followed by a season of increased training and focus where I managed to get back on the podium, I am continuing to ramp it up mentally and physically.

I am certainly looking forward to World Championships this season. Val di Fiemme is a venue where I’ve had personal success and our team has made history with Johnny’s (Spillane) crown in 2003 and Todd and my one-two finish in 2010.

I feel that the team is much more competitive than in the past and looking forward to its continued growth and success. It’s exciting to see that our continued effort to work together is yielding amazing dividends and that making our world cup team is becoming an increasingly challenging endeavor.

Bryan Fletcher, Holmenkollen King’s Cup champion
Coming off last season with a win definitely kick started some momentum heading into training this summer. The most exciting thing is the momentum hasn’t worn off. Our team has picked up that momentum and is working hard to keep the ball rolling through the next season – hopefully helping all of us take that next step both individually and as a team.

This season is definitely important for many reasons, the most prominent reason being World Championships. Athletes particularly value this World Champs because it is the biggest event that precedes the Olympics. On the whole scale however this season is important because it’s a great chance to improve before the Olympics. There is a lot of experience that can be gained and a chance to put yourself in a great position results wise before the Olympic year.

Obviously a medal at World Championships would create some great momentum heading into next season. If nothing less this season signifies the countdown toward the Olympics, which I think every athlete gets a little giddy thinking about the next two years!

Dave Jarrett, Head Coach
Everyone has done a good job preparing for the season and we are psyched to start with strong A and B Teams. We have two important seasons coming up with World Championships and Olympics. We want to execute this year so that we have confidence going into the Olympic season.

The mix of youth and experience is good and the competition among teammates is making everyone better and keeping everyone honest.  Bryan (Fletcher), Taylor (Fletcher), Todd (Lodwick), and Johnny (Spillane) have had a solid summer of training among the A-Team. Billy (Demong) is still working on equipment issues but we expect him to running on all cylinders soon.  Nick Hendrickson, Adam Loomis and Michael Ward have taken a huge step this summer from the B-Team.

2013 U.S. Nordic Combined Ski Team
Name, Hometown, Club (Skis (jumping/cross country), Boots (jumping/cross country), Bindings, Eyewear, Poles) Date of Birth
* Indicates Olympian
**Indicates Westminster College student

A Team
– Billy Demong, Vermontville, NY, New York Ski Education Foundation (Fluege/Atomic, Rass/Atomic, Atomic, Uvex, Swix) 3/29/80 *
– Bryan Fletcher, Steamboat Springs, CO, Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club (Elan/Madshus, Rass/Madshus, Rottefella, Uvex, Madshus) 6/27/86 **
– Taylor Fletcher, Steamboat Springs, CO, Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club (Fluege/Atomic, Rass/Atomic, Atomic, Uvex/Rudy Project, Swix) 5/11/90 * **
– Todd Lodwick, Steamboat Springs, CO, Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club (Elan/Madshus, Rass/Madshus, Madshus, TBD, Swix) 11/21/76 *
– Johnny Spillane, Steamboat Springs, CO, Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club (Fluege/Atomic, Rass/Atomic, Atomic, Uvex, One Way) 11/24/80 *

B Team
– Brett Denney, Steamboat Springs, CO, Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club (Elan/Madshus, Rass/Alpina, Rotefella, Uvex/Rudy Project, Swix) 2/26/90 **
– Nick Hendrickson, Park City, UT, Park City Nordic Ski Club (Elan/Madshus, Rass/Alpina, Rottefella, Uvex/Rudy Project, Swix) 6/20/91 **
– Adam Loomis, Eau Claire, WI, Eau Claire Flying Eagles Ski Club (Fluege/Madshus, Rass/Madshus, Rottefella, Uvex/Rudy Project, Madshus) **
– Erik Lynch, Steamboat Springs, UT, Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club (Fischer/Madshus, Rass/Madshus, Rottefella, Uvex, Madshus)
– Michael Ward, Aspen, CO, Aspen Valley Ski and Snowboard Club (Fischer/Madshus, Rass/Madshus, Rottefella, Uvex, Swix)

Coaching Staff
– Dave Jarrett, Head Coach
– Chris Gilbertson, World Cup Jumping Coach
– Greg Poirer, Continental Cup Coach/Development Coach

World Cup Service Team
– Andrej Jezeršek
– Matjaz Dobrovoljc

Official Nordic Combined Suppliers
– Uniforms
– Bjørn Dæhlie

– Alpina
– Atomic
– Bolle
– Briko
– Fischer
– Madshus
– Oakley
– OneWay
– Rossignol
– Rudy Project
– Salomon
– Swix

Wax, Tools and Training Devices
– Bosu
– Dominator
– Holmenkol
– Kenwood Radios
– Sun Valley Ski Tools
– Swix
– Toko
– Tools4boards
– Wintersteiger
– World Cup Supply

Team USA 5th in Team Event, Demong 14th at Obertsdorf Nordic Combined WCup

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January 10, 2012 (Oberstdorf, Germany) – Heavy snowfall and wind during the jumping event and strong snowfall during the cross-country race made for challenging conditions in Oberstdorf at the FIS Nordic Combined World Cup, but the four-man US team comprised of Taylor Fletcher, Johnny Spillane, Bryan Fletcher (all Steamboat Springs, CO) and Billy Demong (Vermontville, NY) moved up three spots after jumping to eighth to finish fifth overall in the team event in Oberstdorf.

Bryan Fletcher laid down another strong cross country performance skiing the second fastest leg in his round. Team Norway ultimately took the win after making up one spot after the jumps.

“Today was an OK day. It was hard on the jump with the changing wind – same old story. There was a massive snow storm during the race which made ski selection difficult. The service guys did a great job anyway. We’re looking forward to tomorrow,” said Dave Jarrett, USSA Nordic Combined Head Coach.

In the individual Gundersen on Day 2, the U.S. Ski Team’s Demong and Spillane punched into the top-15 with 14th and 15th respectively, while teammate Fletcher was 16th. Norway’s Mikko Kokslien took the win.

Spillane had the best jump for the U.S. with 20th and started the race one minute 23 seconds back, just in front of Demong and Fletcher. Fletcher skied the eighth fastest cross-country time, which was the fastest out of the Americans.

“It was a good day today. All three were close to getting the lead pack but just couldn’t close the gap all the way. Jumping was better for Billy and Johnny. Bryan had an awesome trial jump and wanted just a little more in the comp and got a little less. He is solid, though. Good skiing from everyone. Looking forward to Chaux Neuve,” said Jarrett.

Fellow US teammates Nick Hendrickson (Park City, UT) and Taylor Fletcher (Steamboat Springs, CO) did not start after finishing out of the top 50 in the provisional competition round jump.

The weekend competitions were originally scheduled in Schonach, but forced to move earlier this week due to adverse conditions. The World Cup now moves to Chaux-Neuve, France Jan. 14-15 for a pair of large hill individual Gundersen events.

Day 1 Results HERE.
Day 2 Results HERE.

Bill Demong – NCombined 2012 Nationals at Norge Report

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October 04, 2011 (Fox River Grove, Il) – Read US Nordic Combined National Champion Bill Demong’s blog report from the 2012 US National Nordic Combined Championships hosted by Norge Nordic Ski Club last weekend  in Fox River Grove, Illinois HERE.

Rydzek Wins Men’s NH/10k NCombined at Junior Worlds – USA’s Field 19th

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January 27, 2011 (Otepaa, Estonia) – Johannes Rydzek is the first Nordic Combined winner at the FIS Nordic Junior World Ski Championships in Otepää (EST) today. The German athlete won the Normal Hill/10 km event in front of Marjan Jelenko (SLO) and Kaarel Nurmsalu (EST).

Clifford Field (USA) was the top Team USA skier in 19th place and Sebastien Dandurand (CAN) was the top Canuck in 34th. Other American finishers included Nick Hendrickson (Park City, UT) in 22nd, Michael Ward (Aspen, CO) in 36th and Erik Lynch (Steamboat Springs, CO) in 42nd. Canada’s Chanon Pretorius did not finish.

Nurmsalu won the ski jumping portion on the Tehvandi hill (HS100.0m). The athlete of the Skiclub Telemark jumped 96.5 m for a total of 128.0 points and relegated Germany’s Johannes Rydzek (93.5 m/121.0 points) on the second and Marjan Jelenko (SLO/93.5 m/120.5 points) on the third place.

Therefore, Nurmsalu, who has gotten first place at a COC competition in Klingenthal recently, started with an initial advantage of 28 seconds in front of Rydzek and 30 seconds in front of Jelenko. Japan’s Reruhi Shimizu was already 44 seconds behind, and the gap of fifth placed Manuel Faisst (GER) was more than one minute (1:06). Ole-Christian Wendel from Norway, 27th at half-time, trailed by 2:40 minutes.

As expected, Rydzek and Jelenko closed the gap to the leader; after 2.5 km, Nurmsalu’s advantage was just 7 seconds. In the second lap, a trio led the race. Then, Rydzek increased the speed. First Nurmsalu, then Jenko weren’t able to follow the strong German.

At the finish line, Rydzek was the new World Champion, 47.8 seconds in front of Jelenko and 1:02.5 minutes ahead of Nurmsalu. Fourth place went to Wendel who had an impressive cross-country race. He delivered the fastest time (25:18.3)

Rydzek’s victory is the 17th Junior World Championships Gold Medal for Germany (including GDR and FRG) in Nordic Combined since 1968 (when this competition was held for the first time) and the first since 2007, when Eric Frenzel won the Sprint competition. Former and current World class athletes like Ulrich Wehling, Hermann Weinbuch or Bjoern Kircheisen have won this competition before Rydzek did it today.


Johannes Rydzek
When I competed last year (in Hinterzarten, Germany) I was really nervous, because everybody was looking at my performance and so I couldn’t handle the pressure. This year I was better prepared, especially mentally. I showed my best performance today. I tried to make my race to get Kaarel and then see how strongly I can go. It worked very well for me.

Marjan Jelenko
My tactic was to be with Johannes as long as I could. I was really satisfied with my performance. I think when I do my best jump at the next race I can get the podium again.

Kaarel Nurmsalu
I am very happy, my job is done now. I got the medal. I know that Johannes is very good skier and he started with Marjan so I expect that they would catch me and if it’s possible I go with them. But it wasn’t possible. All the time I got information about who is following me and I expected medal. And I got it. Of course I got nervous when Christian got closer and closer, but after third lap I was 90% sure that I would get the medal.

More: www.fisnordiccombined.com
Complete Results

Results (brief)

1. Johannes Rydzek (GER) 121.0 (2)/26:09.7 (9) 26:37.7
2. Marjan Jelenko (SLO) 120.5 (3)/27:40.72(33) +1:02.5
3. Kaarel Nurmsalu (EST) 128.0 (1)/26:55.5 (18) +47.8

19. Clifford Field (USA) +2:58.9
22. Rick Hendrickson (USA) +3:08.1
34. Sebastien Dandurand (CAN) +3:31.3
36. Michael Ward (USA) +3:34.0
42. Erik Lynch (USA) +4:14.1
DNF Chanon Pretorius (CAN)

USSA Names Nordic Combined World Championship Team

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January 25, 2011 (Park City, Utah) – Olympic medalists and World Champions Johnny Spillane (Steamboat Springs, CO), Billy Demong (Vermontville, NY) and Todd Lodwick (Steamboat Springs, CO) will lead the decorated U.S. Nordic Combined World Championship Team to Holmenkollen in Oslo, Norway for the Jan. 26 – Mar. 4 Championships. The Team, whose members have achieved four World Championship titles plus one team and three individual Olympic medals, was announced Monday after athletes qualified through World Cup and Continental Cup competition.

Joining the three medalists on the Team are World Championship newcomers including Olympian Taylor Fletcher, (Steamboat Springs, CO), Bryan Fletcher (Steamboat Springs, CO) and Nick Hendrickson (Park City, UT).

“The Team is going to be a mix of veterans and newcomers,” said Head Coach Dave Jarrett. “We are looking forward to Oslo with the nordic atmosphere, crowds and the chance to perform on a big stage. We will prepare the best we know how and do everything we can to win medals.”

The U.S. athletes have treated the World Cup season as a buildup towards the World Championships with each of the three medalists competing on reduced schedules. Lodwick has the best U.S. result with a fourth in Austria earlier this month. Spillane, who suffered a knee injury last summer, made his comeback just a week ago. Demong took a month off in anticipation of the birth of his baby boy. Both Demong and Spillane have had strong cross country performances in their returns and will be drawing a big focus on jump training heading into the Championships.

In 2009, Lodwick and Demong racked in the World Championship titles, with Demong clinching the large hill and Lodwick topping the Gundersen and mass start normal hill events. After an historic 2010 the USA crew is ready to sport the new Bjorn Daehlie black uniforms in Oslo as they head to the heart of nordic skiing. In Vancouver, 2003 World Champion Spillane earned three silver medals, Demong took home a gold and silver and Lodwick led the USA to silver in the team event.

Adding to the success and depth of the 2011 Team are the Fletcher brothers and Hendrickson. Both Fletchers are heading into World Champs strong posting top 30 results on the World Cup stage. Hendrickson is coming in with momentum as well after having successful races on the Continental Cup tour.

“Bryan Fletcher has had the best season of anyone on the Team this year,” said Jarrett. “We are looking forward to seeing his progression continue in Oslo and Taylor Fletcher is coming on strong.”

The powerhouse six-man team will begin its four World Championship events Saturday, Feb. 26 with the normal hill competition. The 2011 schedule was changed from 2009 when the mass start event (won by Lodwick) was added to the program. It has since been eliminated with a second team event being added, with one each on the normal and large hills.

The Team will be training on the Olympic venues in Utah over the next three weeks before heading to a pre-Worlds camp in the Olympic village of Lillehammer, Norway.

2011 World Nordic Combined Ski Championship Team
– Billy Demong, Vermontville, NY (Park City Nordic Ski Club)
– Bryan Fletcher, Steamboat Springs, CO (Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club)
– Taylor Fletcher, Steamboat Springs, CO (Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club)
– Nick Hendrickson, Park City, UT (Park City Nordic Ski Club)
– Todd Lodwick, Steamboat Springs, CO (Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club)
– Johnny Spillane, Steamboat Springs, CO (Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club)

2011 World Nordic Combined Ski Championships Schedule – Oslo, Norway
– Sat., Feb. 26 – Normal hill
– Mon., Feb. 28 – Normal hill team event
– Wed., Mar. 2 – Large hill
– Fri., Mar. 4 – Large hill team event

Todd Lodwick to Host Nordic Ski Camp at The Home Ranch – Feb. 8-12

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December 27, 2010 (Clark, CO) – Ever wondered what it would be like to ski and train with an Olympian considered one of the finest Nordic skiers in the world? This spring, from February 8th -12th, 2011, Nordic combined Olympic medalist and world champion Todd Lodwick will host his first Nordic Ski Camp at The Home Ranch. The luxury ski camp will provide a highly inspiring World Cup-style training experience for enthusiastic skate skiers from ages 12-100. The camp will culminate in a 3KM sprint race on the Home Ranch meadow. Is your child or grandchild a competitive skier? Are you preparing for a competitive Nordic race like the Birkebeiner or just wanting to become a better skate skier? Whether your goal is to become a better skier, a faster racer, or a future Olympian, the camp promises to provide an unforgettable skiing experience.

Find out more HERE.

Breakthrough 8th Place Finish for Bryan Fletcher in Ramsau – Stecher Wins Again

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December 19, 2010 (Ramsau, Austria) – Christmas came a week early for Bryan Fletcher (Steamboat Springs, CO) who set himself up with a strong jump then carried his own with the big boys to finish a career best eighth in the FIS Nordic Combined World Cup in Ramsau. It was his fourth point scoring finish of the year. Austrian Mario Stecher led the jump and hung on for an 8.6 second win over a hard charging Tino Edelmann of Germany. Fellow German Eric Frenzel was third.

In the jump, Todd Lodwick (Steamboat Springs, CO) was 11th and Fletcher 13th, staring 24 and 29 seconds respectively. Lodwick held his position in the opening laps. Fletcher started moving up after the first kilometer and by 2.5k was on the heels of Lodwick and World Cup leader Jason Lamy Chappuis of France. From the back, German Tino Edelmann began moving up and the pace quickened as the field came through the stadium after the first of four 2.5k laps, featuring two huge hills and a wide track for passing.

But then the race took a dramatic turn. At the start of the second lap, a ski tip or tail from another racer in the pack clipped one of Lodwick’s bindings. As he took a skate step, his ski released. He was forced to wait out the pack, scramble back, clean his boot and re-attach the ski. By that time, he had been dropped.

“It happens sometimes,” said Lodwick. “I had good technique on the jump for this early [in the season]. While I was able to catch up to the back of the pack I was skiing with the guys who were getting dropped. It was panic mode to keep going.”

By midway through the second lap there was a chase group of five battling for second with another pack of seven a few seconds back. Midway through the race, with Lodwick dropping back, Fletcher settled in with a growing chase group that was hot on the heels of leader Stecher.

Moving into the second half of the race, Fletcher found himself in an unusual position – leading an aggressive pack of veterans. He held his own, pacing the group into the final two kilometers before Edelmann sprinted ahead to breakup the group in a field sprint to the finish for second. No one could catch Stecher.

“It was pretty crazy,” said an excited Fletcher. “I kept thinking to myself, ‘Holy Cow! I’m in second.’ At the same time I was still thinking race strategy. Our train was messing around a little bit with what to do. Dave [Nordic Combined Head Coach Dave Jarrett] said it was time to hammer and get moving. I felt good and said ‘why not try to bridge the gap.’ I got into the front, started pulling and was surprised I was feeling so good.”

“Bryan jumped well and he’s really stepped up since summer,” said Jarrett. “Summer Grand Prix was a big step for him. In Kuusamo, he stepped right in there. Yesterday and today he was really solid.”

“Now I  know what’s possible for me to do every weekend,” said Fletcher. “I don’t feel like what I did today was anything really special. I still don’t think I’ve shown my best jumps. And the cross-country race was where I was expecting myself to be. Knowing I was able to do it today gives me confidence.”

Fletcher opened the season in Kuusamo, Finland three weeks ago with a then career best 18th. That started a string of four points finishes leading up to his top 10 in Ramsau.

He also credits a more disciplined approach to fitness and greater focus on nutrition. “I’m eating better and have lost close to 20 pounds,” he said. “That puts my actual weight closer to my BMI (body mass index) which is a big help on the jump hill and I feel better in cross country.”

Lodwick, who just missed the podium in fourth Saturday, ending up 18th. Bryan Fletcher’s brother, Taylor, had an impressive cross country segment – sixth fastest to move up from 58th in jumping to take 37th. Young Nick Hendrickson (Park City, UT) was 22nd in cross country to finish 45th overall.

“Taylor had a great race today – more like what we have had for expectations,” said Jarrett. Taylor Fletcher finished third a week ago in a Continental Cup in Utah.

Lamy Chappuis was fourth and continued to lead the World Cup at the midway point in the season.

The Team will now head back to the USA for the holidays before the World Cup resumes in Schonach, Germany Jan. 8-9. The main focus for the U.S. athletes will be the FIS Nordic Ski World Championships in Oslo, Norway with the opening nordic combined event on Feb. 26.

Lodwick plans to sit out the Schonach weekend, but come back for Seefeld, Austria and Chaux-Neuve, France later in January. Olympic champion Billy Demong is also expected to be on a very selective schedule leading to Worlds, anticipating the birth of his first child. Three-time Olympic silver medalist Johnny Spillane is still recovering from a summer knee injury but is back training and hopeful to be back in action soon.

Full results HERE.

Results (brief)
Individual Normal Hill/10k Gundersen

1. Mario Stecher, Austria (1/20) 24:22.3
2. Tino Edelmann, Germany (20/8) +8.6 seconds
3. Eric Frenzel, Germany (7/14) +10.2
4. Jason Lamy Chappuis, France (8/16) +12.4
5. Johannes Rydzek, Germany (5/21) +17.3

8. Bryan Fletcher, Steamboat Springs, CO (13/15) +19.0
18. Todd Lodwick, Steamboat Springs, CO (10/33) +46.0
37. Taylor Fletcher, Steamboat Springs, CO (58/6) +1:47.5 minutes
45. Nick Hendrickson, Park City, UT (59/22) +2:32.8
59. Eric Camerota, Park City, UT (44/59) +5:17.0

USA’s Lodwick 4th – Stecher Wins NCombined WCup Normal Hill/10km in Ramsau

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December 18, 2010 (Ramsau, Austria) – The U.S. Ski Team’s Todd Lodwick (Steamboat Springs, CO) came back to the World Cup in style Saturday, finishing fourth and missing the podium by a tenth. Austria’s Mario Stecher picked up the win. It marked a return to the World Cup for the Olympic silver medalist, who took off for the opening two weekends to train at home. Two weeks ago he swept a pair of Continental Cups in Steamboat Springs. Bjoern Kircheisen (GER) and Johannes Rydzek (GER) finished second and third in today’s competition.

Lodwick, who had been fourth in the jump and started 16 seconds back. He moved up quickly and battled for a podium spot the entire race, before losing out in a sprint with German Johannes Rydzek for third, 15.5 seconds behind Stecher. German Bjoern Kircheisen was second, just nine-tenths from the win.

Lodwick was part of a large pack that went head to head much of the race and was in a strong position going into the final kilometer, passing World Cup leader Jason Lamy Chappuis of France, who finished fifth. But he was not able to hold off the hard charging Rydzek.

Lodwick’s teammate Bryan Fletcher (Steamboat Springs, CO) had another good race finishing, taking 23rd for his third points scoring finish of the season. Lodwick and company will be at it again Sunday with the final pre-holiday competition in Ramsau.

Individual Normal Hill/10k

Full results HERE.

1. Mario Stecher (AUT) 25:46.40
2. Bjoern Kircheisen (GER) 25:47.30
3. Johannes Rydzek (GER) 26:01.90
4. Todd Lodwick (USA) 26:02.00
5. Jason Lam Chappulis (FRA) 26:03.20

23. Bryan Fletcher (USA) 27:06.90
42. Taylor Fletcher (USA) 28:43.10
47. Nick Henderson (USA) 29:30.30
59. Eric Camerota (USA) 31:31.80

Gravey’s Grapevine – Bjoergen Magic and La Clusaz Preview

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December 17, 2010 – If you’re Marit Bjoergen, you’re on top of the world… and the women’s world cup points standings, too. Let me hasten to remind you that she has won nine world cup races in a row (the final two in Falun last year and seven this year) and has no plans of slowing down. She has crushed the field like a styrofoam cup so far.

Bjoergen is clearly the class of the women’s field. She notched her 41st world cup win in the 10km classic race in Davos. Marit is now only one win short of former teammate Bente Skari in the all-time victory record books for women – and apparently wants to beat legendary compatriot, Bjorn Dählie’s, men’s record of 46 wins as well. She also told Norwegian media this week she’ll take a pass on the grueling Tour de Ski to keep her focus on the Nordic Worlds in Oslo.

It’s the second straight podium for Kikkan Randall this past weekend, after finishing third in the freestyle sprint at Davos. The Alaska miss is currently ranked third in sprint cup points. She plans to stay in lovely Davos to train for the upcoming Tour de Ski and will enjoy the Yuletide there with her husband Jeff Ellis.

Randall will not be on the start line tomorrow for the USA in the women’s 15km freestyle according to coach Matt Whitcomb. “She was feeling ragged following the races last weekend. We have decided to play things conservatively. It’s a long winter.” Whitcomb also reports 18 inches of new snow on the ground in La Clusaz today.

Expect Liz Stephen and Morgan Arritola in the women’s race for the US. For the men’s 30km look for [Kris] Freeman (who had a cold recently), and Noah Hoffman as the male starters for the Americans.

Two top Swedish women return to action this weekend in France after skipping Davos due to illness. You might watch to see how Charlotte Kalla and Anna Haag do following their break. Still on the injured list is Johan Olsson, who’s been having breathing problems and is back home in Sweden recovering.

People’s heads turned as a result of the surprise winner of the men’s 15km classic in Switzerland – big props to Alexey Poltoranin of Kazakhstan all of 23 years old winning his first time world cup.

It was another great race last Sunday for Sweden’s Emil Joensson winning a tight one over Russia’s Alexei Petukhov. Joensson continues to hold the leader’s bib for sprint world cup points.

I must say that the big surprise in the men’s sprint was the performance of “Look at that Time”S.Federico Pellegrino from Italy. His qualifying time was the best of the day. We will see more of him.

Canada Beat
In an email from head coach Justin Wadsworth, the Canadian squad plans to ski Devon Kershaw, Ivan Babikov, Lenny Valjas and Brent McMurty in the 30km in La Clusaz. His plan is that everyone will do the 30km except perhaps Lenny, who may only ski the relay. They stayed in Davos as well, where conditions are perfect.

Alex Harvey checks in to say he will fly into Geneva on Thursday from Montreal. He will travel to the French race with head wax technician Yves Bilodeau. Harvey has been home writing important exams since Kuusamo and has logged some great training in Quebec and some fine intensity sessions. Both Chandra Crawford and Daria Gaiazova have returned home following the Davos races.

Talking to Jack
I caught up with follow Trax columnist Jack Sassville – we go way back to the days of Tony Wise’s Gitchi Gami Games in the 1970s. Looking to this weekend he had some promising words for the Canadian team.

According to Jack Saz – “I think Devon has proven that he is in the top tier of skiers. He now can finish consistently in the top 10 to 15. The next step for him is to get a podium in a distance race. Alex Harvey has shown that he belongs, too. This guy is the most talented male skier to come along in Canada, sinceShis dad.” How about Len Valjas? “Len did nothing as a junior, but moving to a training centre was the best thing that ever happened to him. He has a great head for racing and I think that his height – 6 ft, 5 inches tall – is actually an advantage to him in sprinting. He can create a lot of power through his long levers and he is hard to get around.”

The Weekend in La Clusaz
La Clusaz announcer, Christophe Sevessand (he did Biathlon at Vancouver 2010) will have a busy weekend at La Clusaz also producing the live show on-site. He recently reported thatS.”It’s cold this morning with -15C, but it’s nice in the stadium area with the sunshine. We had great snow but lost it to heavy rains last weekend. We expect snowfall on Friday (it did), and at the moment the snow guns are working well….”

We understand that French star, Vincent Vittoz will remain sidelined this weekend at home. It’s a pity. He has gone thru MRI exams and the injury to his left thigh – which happened in Gallivare – is stilled not fully healed. Vittoz said he would resume some light skiing and running this week.

On Saturday xc skiers will contest a mass start 15/30km freestyle race in La Clusaz and on Sunday it’s back to more exciting relays – 4x5km for the women and a 4x10km for the men. The Clusaz venue is the proposed site for France’s bid for the 2018 Olympic Winter Games.

Jumping News
High winds in Harrachov forced the cancellation of both days of ski jumping last weekend. Austria’s Thomas Morgenstern remains the leader of the jumping world cup overall standings, as the flyers travel to Engelberg, Switzerland this weekend for a tournament. FIS says it will move the Harrachov event to Engleberg.

Women’s jumping of late has been dominated by the Austrian skier, Daniela Iraschko. The USA women have also been on a hot streak with the fine skiing of Jessica Jerome, Lindsey Van and Sarah Hendrickson. Jerome is second overall behind Iraschko, Van is in third, and Hendrickson is fourth. The COC tour takes two separate paths this weekend with the men heading to a new facility in Turkey, while the women will jump in Norway.

We also hear sad news from Austrian ski jumping that star performer Gregor Schlierenzauer fell in a training jump at Seefeld – high above Innsbruck – on the 75 HS jump. According to FIS he has pain in his right knee, and an MRI was done. They also say that the first reports indicate a possible partial rupture of the right collateral ligament. This might well take him out of the famed 4 Hills Tournee, which kicks off in two week’s time.

Nordic Combined – Lodwick Returns to Europe
US Nordic Combined Head Coach, Dave Jarrett, checked in about this coming weekend. They’re sending Todd Lodwick, Eric Camerota, Nick Hendrickson and the Fletcher brothers (Taylor and Bryan) to Ramsau, AUT for the next world cup. Billy Demong will stay stateside while he and his wife await the birth of their first child. DJ reports that depending on how things unfold Demong may stay home and train until Oslo. Lodwick will stay in Europe to compete in Seefeld (AUT) and Chaux Neuve (FRA).

See you on the trails… there’s great snow across the country now.

Spillane Tears ACL – Will Miss Early Season World Cups

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July 30, 2010 (Salt Lake City, Utah) – Injuries are part of all sports. They can, and do happen to just about every athlete, often at the most inopportune times. Even something as benign as wrestling with your dog can result in an injury that takes weeks or months to heal. In Johnny Spillane’s case, it was simply taking an afternoon off to go cliff jumping that has him now firmly ensconced on his in-laws couch in Salt Lake City, recovering from knee surgery to repair a torn ACL.

Spillane, a Nordic Combined silver medal-winner and star of the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, was cliff jumping near Lake Placid when he landed awkwardly. The impact with the water tore his ACL, MCL and meniscus, as well as damaging his hamstring. On Tuesday (July 27th) he underwent surgery to have his ACL reconstructed. The surgery went well given the extensive damage to his knee, but prior to going in the doctors were unsure just how badly he’d been hurt.

“Going into the surgery we didn’t really know the extent of the injuries, but essentially the worst thing happened. We thought there might be just a small tear, but the ACL was totally gone,” Spillane said by phone from Salt Lake City. Even with the bad news, he seems optimistic.

“They got everything taken care of that they wanted to, now it’s just going to be a matter of healin’ up.”

As well as being optimistic about his recovery, he’s also confident that this won’t affect his attendance at World Championships in Oslo, Norway in late February. At the moment he hasn’t had a chance to discuss recovery time lines with his doctors, which will come after his knee settles down from the surgery in a few weeks. Eve so, and even though he had been planning on racing a full World Cup calendar leading up to Norway, he says he’s adapted his plans to something that will work.

“I’m not too worried about getting into World Cups right away. I’ve been doing this for a long time, so I don’t really need the experience.” The plan is to stay in North America and work on recovery and training well into the winter. It’s more important to get into good shape than it is to get into some competition.”

Spillane will spend a few more days in Salt Lake City before heading back home to Steamboat Springs on Sunday. Given the long road ahead of him, he seems remarkably at ease with everything, likely because he’s no stranger to injury and rehab. As he says, “I’ve been through this type of thing many times, so unfortunately, I know exactly what to do.”