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That Nordic ski power ... the USA? ... does it again*

February 22, 2009 | 10:46 am

   

U.S. Nordic skiers Todd Lodwick, left, and Bill Demong.
Todd Lodwick, left, and Bill Demong in a history-making moment for U.S. Nordic skiers (Matthias Schrader / Associated Press)

This is getting ridiculous.

I mean, the United States atop the gold-medal table and tied with Norway in overall medals at the Nordic skiing world championships?

And Todd Lodwick, the man who wondered three days ago if he ever would win a world or Olympic medal, now 2-for-2 golds in Nordic combined?

That is the situation after Sunday's action at the 2009 Nordic worlds in Liberec, Czech Republic, when Lodwick and Bill Demong went 1-3 in the Nordic combined small hill event.

"I think the most important thing about today, and probably the coolest, is that I am able to share this podium with a teammate,'' Lodwick said.

With Lindsey Van's gold in women's ski jumping, the USA now has four medals.

Never before have U.S. Nordic athletes won more than one medal in the same worlds. But the Nordic combined team has been doing well for several seasons in the World Cup, and both Demong (silver, 2007) and Johnny Spillane (gold, 2003) had won medals in recent editions of the biennial world meet.

Now these veteran athletes (Lodwick is a 4-time Olympian; Demong, three; and Spillane, two) will be favored to break the U.S. medal ice at the Olympics, where the best previous finish in Nordic combined is fourth in the team event in 2002. (An earlier version of this article said Demong was a two-time winner.)

"We knew going into it that we had the potential to do this,'' Demong said. "It's about the program. We've really built up a lot of success over the years, and I think we're relaxed and in shape and we're taking advantage of it.''

Lodwick's Sunday win was more significant than Friday's in the mass start event, since this event (100-meter jump hill, 10-kilometer ski) also is on the Winter Olympic program.

The 32-year-old from Steamboat Springs, Colo., won the jumping phase of the competition and took third in the cross-country.

"I've been jumping really well all week and had a good feeling coming from Steamboat,'' said Lodwick, who retired after the 2006 Olympics but decided last summer to try again. "The hill in Steamboat and the hill here in Liberec are similar, and I knew if I was jumping well in Steamboat that I could come here and do well."

-- Philip Hersh

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