Sochi Nordic Combined Opening
ESTO-SADOK, Russia (Feb. 12) – Nordic combined athletes converged on the RusSki Gorki Jumping Center Wednesday for the individual 10k Gundersen normal hill event, the first of three nordic combined events of the 2014 Sochi Olympic Winter Games. Billy Demong (Vermontville, NY) pulled out the strongest finish for Team USA in 24th after jumping into 31st, while Germany’s Eric Fenzel won the gold medal. The event airs on NBC at 3:00 p.m. EST and can be streamed in its entirety on NBCOlympics.com. The next medal event is the individual 10k Gundersen large hill event on Wednesday Feb. 18.
- Nordic combined athletes converged on the RusSki Gorki Jumping Center Wednesday for the individual 10k Gundersen normal hill event, the first of three nordic combined events of the 2014 Sochi Olympic Winter Games.
- Billy Demong (Vermontville, NY) pulled out the strongest finish for Team USA, skiing into 24th after his jump put him into 31st. Demong mounted a fierce race but became tangled in a group of skiers during his second lap, which prevented him from making up his 1:33 deficit incurred in the jump round.
- Germany’s Eric Fenzel won the gold medal with Akito Watabe of Japan taking silver and Magnus Krog of Norway making up a tremendous margin and earning bronze after jumping into 20th.
- In his first Olympic appearance, Bryan Fletcher (Steamboat Springs, CO) finished just behind Demong in 26th after jumping into 41st, and brother Taylor Fletcher (Steamboat Springs, CO) skied into 33rd.
- Six-time Olympian Todd Lodwick (Steamboat Springs, CO) jumped into 34th, but pulled out of the competition in order to rest his shoulder.
- The event airs on NBC at 3:00 p.m. EST and can be streamed in its entirety on NBCOlympics.com.
- The next medal event is the individual 10k Gundersen large hill event on Wednesday Feb. 18.
Things felt pretty good. With the jump, it’s hard to be too upset because I’ve been struggling this week on that small hill. I think it’s a little flatter than any hill I’ve ever skied before. I actually had my best two jumps today. The trial was really good and it’s hard to be too upset at the comp jump when it’s still my second longest jump.
In the race I felt great. I was skiing with Mikko (Kokslien) and working my way up and then I ended up getting caught in a big pileup on the second lap and spent the entire third lap trying to catch back up. The feelings up to that point were good. I have the capability to put in a good race now; I just have got to steer clear of trouble I guess.
It was a long time sitting at that start line and it’s definitely something that I never want to do again. I think going into the next days, I have a better opportunity and I think that won’t happen again. Cross country is not a problem, I’ll just go out and go as hard as I can for as long as I can and that’s really all you’ve got to do. So we’ll see how it goes and definitely hope for a better day.
This hill is hard. I don’t understand it. I think a lot of people have the same feelings. I don’t know what it is that makes it so difficult. We jumped the big hill and I was fifth here last year on it. It was my best jumping result so I know I can reproduce that. I’m a little bit better on a big hill. I don’t know if it’s my size that allows me to do that, but I can be a little bit more aggressive, which you really can’t on the smaller hill. So we’ll see.
First race is under the belt. All the cobwebs are out now. It’s exciting. I’m still here with a smile on my face and I’ll go home happy.
It was an extremely challenging jump. I think this is one of the hardest hills I’ve ever jumped in my life. The rhythm of the hill does not match how your feelings are, so it was really difficult to find the rhythm. I found it in the trial run today and went for it in the comp jump and kind of laid it all out on the line. Unfortunately it didn’t work out but we’ll try again next week.
The whole goal coming here after the shoulder injury is to make sure that we are a full team and that we are the strongest that we can be and they're relying on me to be 100% in the team event. With that said, I'm taking the afternoon off. It was good to put on the bib. I earned it and it was good to get out and jump over the Olympic rings and take in the atmosphere. I wouldn't give this up for anything.