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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.




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