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Bill Demong tries to repeat gold in Nordic combined

Published February 18, 2014 7:44 am

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2014, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Sochi, Russia • Bill Demong and his fellow Park City competitors did not fare well in the normal-hill Nordic combined event at the Sochi Olympics.

But they get another chance Tuesday.

Demong, a five-time Olympian, aims to defend the title he won in the large-hill event at the 2010 Vancouver Games — he was the first American gold in Nordic combined, which features a ski jump and a cross-country ski race — after a disappointing showing six days ago. The 33-year-old finished 24th, while brothers Bryan and Taylor Fletcher were 26th and 33rd in their first Olympics.

"It was unfortunately a good training day at the Olympics," Demong told USA Today. "I've already been looking forward to the big hill. Things were pretty good there last year and my shape's much better and it's been going really well on hills like that."

Demong will have to jump better than he did in the normal-hill competition — competitors start the 10-kilometer cross-country race based on how far they jump — and avoid pile-ups on the race course, like the one that slowed him down in the first event. His top rival is Germany's Eric Frenzel, who won the normal-hill competition and was the pick to win the large-hill one, too, until coaches warned he might miss it with a virus.

Frenzel is expected to compete, though.

Meanwhile, the short-track speedskaters will try again to work their way to the podium with Utah residents Jessica Smith and Emily Scott racing the qualifying heats of the 1,000 meters, and J.R. Celski, Eddy Alvarez and Jordan Malone competing in prelims of the 500. Salt Lake City's Patrick Meek competes in speedskating's 10,000 meters, where the powerful Dutch again are in line for a possible podium sweep.

- Michael C. Lewis