Nordic champs set for placid
For the second straight season, the best nordic combined and jumping athletes will compete on plastic jumps and roller skis as they attempt to make their mark as America's finest. The U.S. Ski Jumping and Nordic Combined Championships hit Lake Placid during the town's annual Flaming Leaves Festival Oct. 10 and it will be only the second time the event is held off snow.
"This has proven to be an ideal time of year to hold U.S. Championships for our nordic combined and ski jumping athletes as it offers a perfect tune-up for the upcoming World Cup and Continental Cup seasons," U.S. Nordic Program Director John Farra said. "Lake Placid did a superb job in the first non-winter U.S. Championships we held last October, and we look forward to continued success with the event this year."
The championships, which are expected to attract more than 50 of the nation's best nordic athletes, will feature a K90 jumping event for men and women. Nordic combined athletes will also jump the K90 as well as compete in a 10K ski race on roller skis.
"We are pleased to host this prestigious event and look forward to an exciting competition. We know these young men and women will be performing at their highest level and our staff at the Intervale Jumping Complex will provide them with the best possible venue to succeed,” said Jim Goff, ORDA Director of Events. "In conjunction, we also will host a public celebration and send-off for the more than 200 athletes from the many different sports who are training and competing in Lake Placid as they endeavor to make the 2010 U.S. Olympic team."
According to Farra, the event will be an opportunity to showcase the season's already successful jumping athletes, along with three World Champion athletes.
"It will be exciting to see if jumpers Sarah Hendrickson (Park City, UT) and Nicolas Alexander (Park City, UT) can keep up their impressive jumping that we have seen from them in the Continental Cups and Grand Prix summer events," Farra said. "Much attention will also turn to the three World Champions, home grown Billy Demong (Vermontville, NY), Todd Lodwick (Steamboat Springs, CO) and Johnny Spillane (Steamboat Springs, CO) to see if they can keep the advantage over all the men fighting for Olympic spots just months away."
Demong, who won World Championship gold in 2009, is excited to be back in Placid to compete, as well as spend some time with the cross country athletes.
"I'm really excited to go back to Placid again to compete. It is sort of the first real competition of the year and everybody is really fired up. There is sort of a team itch that everybody wants to get started. We're looking forward to winter also, but it's a beautiful time of year to be in Lake Placid," Demong said. "Having the cross country team in town, as well as the entire nordic combined ski jumping nation, is a really productive camp with a lot of crossover."
Last season's victories went to Johnny Spillane (Steamboat Springs, CO) in nordic combined, and Lindsey Van (Park City, UT) and Anders Johnson (Park City, UT) in ski jumping. This year, a new crop of athletes will be looking to put their name in the top spot during the event, which coincides with the Columbus Day weekend in October.