(Last updated November 9, 2013)
After the 2010 Olympic season, the big three: Todd, Billy and Johnny, committed to Nordic Combined competition through the 2014 Games. However, in the summer of 2013, Johnny Spillane made the hard decision to retire from competition.
Later in the month Billy and the Fletcher brothers flew to Europe where they competed in Summer Grand Prix events in Oberstdorf GER and in Villach AUT. The A-Team was joined in Villach by several younger Development Team competitors who stayed on for an extra week to ski in Oberwiesenthal GER.
In early October, Jumpers and NC competitors gathered again in Lake Placid for the National Championships for Normal Hill Special Jumping and for Nordic Combined skiing, both part of the annual Flaming Leaves Ski Jumping Festival. Billy had made these Championships a special personal goal. It would probably be his last championships and his last event on home turf in Lake Placid, and he achieved his goal. He started third in the roller ski race with 16 seconds to make up on team-mate and 12 time champion Todd Lodwick. The win was Bill's sixth National Nordic Combined crown and pleased the winner and his many fans who came out to cheer him on in his last race on American soil.
The new World Cup season started in the end of November in Kuusamo FIN where all the best Nordic competitors in the world -- jumpers, cross country racers, and Nordic combined competitors -- gathered for a grand festival of Nordic skiing. The first Nordic Combined event was a Large Hill (K-142) Gundersen event. Unfortunately none of the USA Big Four qualified. Todd Lodwick and the Fletcher brothers didn't jump well enough to make the top 50 and Bill Demong was disqualified (equipment). Erik Frenzel picked up where he left off last season -- the defending World Cup champion won the opening event over three Norwegians.
Sunday in Kuusamo saw the 13 best Nordic Combined teams in the world line up for a Large Hill, 4x5 km team relay. Team Norway was the clear favorite, having taken places 2,3,4,6 in Saturday's individual competition on the same jump, and the Norsemen came through, winning the jumping and holding first place through all four legs of the cross country race. Team USA didn't jump as well as we know they can and so started the XC 12th of 13 teams. But the U.S. boys can ski XC and they moved steadily up through the field. Bryan Fletcher passed two rivals, then Demong passed one, and anchor man, rocket ship Taylor Fletcher, laid down the fastest fourth leg, passing strong skiers from Finland and Russia to move USA up to finish seventh. As a team, the U.S. boys had the second fastest overall race time behind Team Germany but ahead of the winning team from Norway.
Table columns give the venue location and the date of the event, and in the right-hand columns, we will post Bill Demong's finish place, the World Cup points earned for that placing, link "US" to the USST news story and link "FIS" to the official FIS results page. That results page includes, in the upper-right corner, a list of available files including: jump results, World Cup standings, Nations Cup standings, money standings, start lists, etc. The USST article usually describes the weather conditions and how the race went for Bill and the rest of the U.S. World Cup competitors.
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