Bill Demong Wins Gold Medal

02/26/10 6:34AM

AP Photo/Elaine Thompson
United States' Johnny Spillane, silver, left, and United States' Bill Demong, gold right, celebrate after the Men's Nordic Combined Individual event.

In Vancouver yesterday, the United States won their first ever gold medal in the Nordic sports when Billy Demong of Vermontville, New York and Johnny Spillane finished with gold and silver in a Nordic combined large hill competition that was marred by bad weather. The snow and rain forced a restart of the ski jump section, cutting any advantage for the stronger jumpers.

Demong clinched the win by winning the 10-kilometer cross-country leg in 25 minutes.

Spillane won his third silver of the Vancouver Games, finishing four seconds behind.

Demong started in sixth place, 46 seconds back, but quickly caught his teammate and bronze medalist Bernhard Gruber and it was a three-man race the entire way.

The cross-country race was run in much better weather than the ski jump, but the soft, sometimes choppy snow put a premium on the proper wax and ski setup - and unlike in the team relay, when Demong was done in by bad skis, he had perfect ones to put the Americans at the top of the podium.

Also yesterday, in the women's cross country 4 by 5 kilometer relay, Caitlin Compton, formerly of Warren, raced with the U.S. team, they came in 12th place.

In action today, the men's biathlon team gives it one more shot, this time it's the mens 4 by 7.5 kilometer relay. New Yorkers Tim Burke and Lowell Bailey will be racing.

And tomorrow, two locals racing in the men's slalom, Jimmy Cochran of Keene, New Hampshire, and Nolan Kasper of Warren.

Check out the VPR/NPR Winter Olympics coverage page

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