portion, with Gruber getting a ride from the USA boys to notch his best
“Midway through the second lap we knew we were pretty well clear and
it was just going to be a fight between three people,” Spillane said. “The
idea was to have Bill and I in the first two, so we kept trading the lead and
kept doing big accelerations and slowing down in big decelerations. We
worked together almost like a bike race than anything else, because we did
have some room to play with.”
Amazingly, Gruber maintained contact with the lead group until 800
meters from the finish — with all three within a second of each other
— when Demong made a powerful move, with Spillane joining him in
leaving the Austrian behind.
“When Bill accelerated on that last hill, I was kind of stuck a little bit and
had to go around him a little bit further than I would have liked to have a
chance to win,” said Spillane, who had captured the first U.S. nordic combined medal with his silver in the normal hill on Feb. 14, and then pitched
in for the team silver on Feb. 23.
Spillane is the fourth athlete (from any country) to earn medals in all
three nordic combined events at the same Games. Demong credited him
with a role in his own gold, stressing the importance of Spillane’s normal-hill medal in breaking the ice for the U.S.
“To me, this program has always been about the team,” Demong said.
“This Olympics has shown that, even to ourselves, more than ever, because I think all three of us — Todd [Lodwick], Johnny and I — really,
Todd Lodwick enjoys some deserved attention for himself and his sport, after the U.S. waited 86 years for a medal .
really wanted to get the medal out of the way. We wanted to have enough
of this 86-years-no-medal kind of thing. For Johnny to step up and take
that, that was a success for all of us.”
Lodwick, a five-time Olympian from Steamboat Springs, jumped during
extra windy conditions and started well back of his teammates, but his
smart and tactical racing from the back helped give them the advantage