April 18th, 2013
A longtime staple and accomplished veteran on the U.S. Nordic Combined Team, Johnny Spillane announced Thursday that he was retiring from the sport. In a letter to Steamboat Today, Spillane, of Steamboat Springs, Colo., cited family as his main reason for leaving the national team and life as a professional skier before the 2014 Olympics.
“My desire to be at home with my family outweighs my desire to pursue another Olympic medal,” he wrote. “In addition, I’m at a point in my personal life where I cannot afford to take the risk involved with professional athletics. I have a family for which I provide, and an injury or poor season can make it incredibly difficult to do so. While I will miss the sport, I will not miss the travel and the weeks away from home. It is difficult to watch your daughters grow up on Skype.”
Spillane, 32, racked up three Olympic silvers at the 2010 Vancouver Games and an individual gold at the 2003 World Championships.
“I am very proud of what our team accomplished while I was a member,” Spillane continued. “When I started, we had no Olympic or World Championship medals. Now the team boasts of three World Champions [Spillane, Billy Demong and Todd Lodwick], two Olympic individual medalists [Spillane and Demong] and one Olympic champion [Demong].”
He also thanked the Steamboat community for its support and intends to remain settled there.
March 16th, 2013
Heading into the finish of Saturday’s 15 k at the individual World Cup in Oslo, Norway, one man stood between Germany’s Eric Frenzel and his second-straight victory of the weekend: Jason Lamy Chappuis.
After starting eighth, 1:16 back from Japanese leader Taihei Kato, who posted the best jump on the 134-meter large hill, Lamy Chappuis had come too far to settle for second. He ended up edging Frenzel by 0.4 seconds for the win, finishing in 42:06.5 with the sixth-fastest ski time.
Frenzel started third, 34 seconds back from Kato and 5 seconds behind Kato’s teammate Yoshito Watabe. The German ended up second, and Wilhelm Denifl of Austria was third, 1.5 seconds behind Lamy Chappuis.
Japan’s Akito Watabe was fourth (+5.1) and Kato finished fifth (+14.0).
For the second-consecutive race, American Taylor Fletcher posted the fastest ski time (39:52.9). Fletcher started 23rd and rose to 11th (+1:26.4). His older brother, Bryan Fletcher was 20th (+2:38.1) after starting 21st and skiing the 11th fastest time.
March 15th, 2013
Eric Frenzel (GER) took his seventh victory of the season on Friday in Oslo, Norway, for the opening competition of the weekend at the fabled Holmenkollen venue. He bested Japan’s Akito Watabe by 5.0 seconds after the 10 k Gundersen competition with a winning time of 26:11.5. Yoshito Watabe (JPN) was 22.2 seconds behind in third.
Taylor Fletcher led the Americans with a fifth-place finish at the end of the day after beginning the cross-country race in 23rd after the jump competition. He climbed back from a 1:31 deficit to finish 25.0 seconds down to Frenzel and posted the top course time by 17 seconds in the process. Bryan Fletcher was 11th (+59.6), Billy Demong finished 15th (+1:09.2) and Todd Lodwick was 37th (+3:08.0).No comments
March 9th, 2013
Johannes Rydzek (GER) and Eric Frenzel (GER) claimed the Team Sprint HS 130/2×7.5km victory today in Lahti, Finland.
The German duo began the sprint course in first position after a commanding jumping performance. Their winning time was 24:53.
France , consisting of Jason Lamy Chappuis and François Braud, held second position across the finish but were later disqualified because of an illegal passing violation.
This left the second podium spot to Germany’s second team, Tino Edelmann and Fabian Riessle), whom finished in a time of 25:15.7.
Norway, represented by Mikko Kokslien and Håvard Klemetsen, had been taken out of the medal hunt due to a piece of misfortune. On the last lap before the finish Kokslien broke a pole and the battle for the podium spot was relinquished to the German second team. After the disqualification of the French, the Norwegians were promoted to 3rd place, finishing in a time of 25:17.0
Behind the front runners a tight battle was waged for places between Austria I, Japan I, and Austria II, whom finished in 4th, 5th, and 6th places respectively. The result was disappointing for both Japan I and Austria II, whom couldn’t capitalize on promising 2nd and 3rd starting positions.
The United States, represented by Bryan and Taylor Fletcher, skied to a 7th place finish, neither gaining or losing a place from their 8th place starting position (Given the disqualification of France). They finished in a time of 25:48.6, 55.6 seconds out of the win.No comments
March 8th, 2013
Less than a week after the Nordic World Ski Championships ended in Italy, the Nordic Combined World Cup circuit resumed on Friday with a individual large hill/10 k in Lahti, Finland. German World Champion Eric Frenzel posted another dominating performance, placing fourth in the jump and rising to first overall. He finished the 10 k Gundersen in 24:48.2, 10.1 seconds ahead of Japanese runner-up Akito Watabe.
Japan had a strong day with three skiers in the top four. Taihei Kato was third (+12.9) after ranking second in the jump (behind Norway’s Haavard Klemetsen) and Yoshito Watabe placed fourth (+16.6) with the third-best jump.
Johannes Rydzek of Germany took fifth (+26.3) and Klemetsen was sixth (+29.6). Bryan Fletcher led the U.S. in seventh (+34.4) after notching seventh in the jumping portion. Taylor Fletcher rose from 34th to 19th with the second-fastest ski time behind Norwegian Jørgen Graabak, who ended up 17th.
The Lahti World Cup continues Saturday with the large hill/team sprint.
March 2nd, 2013
VAL DI FIEMME, Italy — With Austria’s Bernhard Gruber hot on his tail, Jason Lamy Chappuis of France broke away on the final leg of Saturdays 2 x 7.5 k team sprint to win by 16.6 seconds and bring home gold, his third in four competitions at the 2013 Nordic Combined World Ski Championships. After placing third in Thursday’s individual large hill/10 k, the medal was Lamy Chappuis’ fourth of the week.
The Frenchman teamed up with Sebastien LaCroix for the victory, and Austria took second with Wilhelm Denifl. The leader after jumping on the 134-meter hill in Predazzo, Germany’s Tino Edelmann and Eric Frenzel started first with a 12-second head start on Japan’s Taihei Kato and Akito Watabe. The Germans settled for bronze, 43.9 seconds back, after Edelmann crashed just after the second to last exchange.
Japan took fourth (+44.5), Norway (Magnus Moan/Mikko Kokslein) placed fifth (+1:03.3), and the U.S. (Taylor Fletcher/Billy Demong) was sixth (+1:24.6) after starting 1:40 back in 10th. The Americans skied the second-fastest race after France.
“I think we knew before the race that we didn’t jump as well as we’d hoped,” Demong told reporters. “Two minutes, it’s possible, but it’s not really up to us. … I think we had a solid race, but not enough to come back from two minutes. It’s just clear, we just need to be better on the ski jump, and luckily that’s probably easier than to be faster at cross-country skiing.”
February 28th, 2013
VAL DI FIEMME, Italy — Germany’s Eric Frenzel exchanged a wooden medal for gold on Thursday in the Large Hill Individaul competition at World Championships. He was fourth in the opening competition of the week but turned things around starting at the jump hill on Thursday morning. He jumped 138.5 meters for the top-scored performance of the morning, giving himself a 14 second lead headed into the Gundersen-start 10 k. By the finish he widened it to 36.7 seconds over Gernhard Gruber (AUT). Jason Lamy Chappuis (FRA) finished third (+37.2).
Billy Demong led the Americans in 15th (+1:26.2). Taylor Fletcher followed in 17th (+1:38), Bryan Fletcher was 23rd (+2:40) and Johnny Spillane, in his first appearance on the cross-country course this week, finished 30th (+3:09).
February 24th, 2013
VAL DI FIEMME, Italy — After placing fourth in the past two World Championships, the Americans made a point to land on the podium on Sunday in the normal hill/4 x 5 k team event and make history for U.S. Nordic Combined.
Starting in fifth about a minute behind Japan, which had the best jumping team score, the U.S. (Taylor Fletcher, Bryan Fletcher, Todd Lodwick, Billy Demong) rose to second early in the second leg with a strong performance from Bryan Fletcher. Austria’s Wilhelm Denifl had broken away a few kilometers into the race, and Fletcher tagged off to Lodwick in third, 23.3 seconds behind Austria and and less than a second behind Norway.
Lodwick worked with Norway, France and Japan to catch Austria’s Lukas Klapfer, positioning the U.S. in fourth at the last exchange.
Early in the final leg, Demong surged up front to lead Japan, France, Norway and Austria. With less than 2 k to go, he was still in the lead, followed closely by Norway’s Magnus Moan and France’s Jason Lamy Chappuis. On the final climb, Moan and Chappuis attacked and dropped Demong.
While Lamy Chappuis outsprinted Moan to the finish by 0.4 seconds to win gold for France, Demong held off Japan’s Yusuke Minato and Austria’s Mario Stecher on the downhill into the stadium and placed third, 4.2 seconds behind.No comments
February 22nd, 2013
VAL DI FIEMME, Italy — After jumping to 11th on the first day of the Nordic Combined FIS Nordic World Ski Championships in Predazzo, Jason Lamy Chappuis of France knew starting 1:13 minutes back in the 10-kilometer Gundersen that he could fight for the podium if everything went right Friday. The defending champion from 2011 World Championships in Oslo, Norway, he saw no reason why he shouldn’t fight for it again.
But gold? That was unexpected.
“I can’t believe it because after the jumping part, I was quite disappointed and I knew I had to do an awesome race to come back,” Lamy Chappuis told reporters after edging Austria’s Mario Stecher, who started second, by 0.2 seconds for the win. ”I knew I could do probably a podium if I had a great race, but first place I couldn’t believe it.”
In a photo finish for second, Stecher edged Germany’s Björn Kircheilsen, who skied the second-fastest time at the Lago di Tesero cross-country stadium to rise from 12th to third overall. Also for Germany, Eric Frenzel was fourth (+0.5) after starting sixth, 0.41 seconds behind Norway’s Haavard Klemetsen. First in the jump with a distance of 103.5 meters on the 106-meter normal hill, Klemetsen ended up fifth overall (+16.2).
“We didn’t know until a few meters before the finish line who was going to win,” Lamy Chappuis recalled. “I saw Eric Frenzel really strong, then he collapsed a little bit earlier. I could push as hard as I could and I saw behind me they weren’t coming back, but it was a really long sprint to the finish line. I felt like I never could make it to the end.”
Leading the Americans in 14th, Bryan Fletcher improved from a 19th-place finish in the jump. He started 1:41 after Klemetsen and finished 1:01.2 behind the winner. Billy Demong rose to 23rd (+1:31.6) from 47th after starting nearly three minutes back and skiing the third-fastest 10 k. Taylor Fletcher was 25th for the U.S. after ranking 45th in the jump and racing to the ninth-fastest time, and Todd Lodwick was 32nd after starting in 30th.
“For Bryan it was a good day,” U.S. head coach Dave Jarrett said. “He skied well. Jumping-wise, we know he’s way better and he could’ve been up there with the others, but it was a hard day on the jumping hill, really low speed, really windy. It’s encouraging for Bryan, Bill and Taylor to have pretty much a sub-par jumping performance and be kind of in there, but we still need to improve on the jumping side to be fighting for the podium.”No comments
February 10th, 2013
After making the podium for the first time in four years on Saturday, Austrian Christoph Bieler left no question he’s in top form, winning Sunday’s World Cup competition in Almaty, Kazakhstan. The 35-year-old beat Akito Watabe of Japan by 4.4 seconds in 25:31 for his first World Cup victory in five years.
Sidelined with sickness earlier this year, Bieler posted the best jump Sunday and started 24 seconds ahead of teammate Mario Seidl, who set a record on the large hill Saturday. Seidl was second in the jump on Sunday and ultimately placed sixth. Bieler had a 59-second head start on Watabe, who ranked seventh in the jump, and managed to hold the lead from start to finish. Miroslav Dvorak from the Czech Republic started eighth and reached the podium for a career-best third, 17.5 seconds behind Bieler.
No Americans competed.
Next up for Nordic Combined: World Championships in Val di Fiemme, Italy, starting Feb. 22.No comments