Billy Demong of Vermontville, New York, pulled out the strongest finish for Team USA in 24th after jumping into 31st, while Germany’s Eric Fenzel won the gold medal. Nordic combined athletes converged on the RusSki Gorki Jumping Center Wednesday for the individual 10k Gundersen normal hill event, the first of three nordic combined events of the 2014 Sochi Olympic Winter Games.
"Things felt pretty good. With the jump, it’s hard to be too upset because I’ve been struggling this week on that small hill. I think it’s a little flatter than any hill I’ve ever skied before. I actually had my best two jumps today. The trial was really good and it’s hard to be too upset at the comp jump when it’s still my second longest jump," said Demong.
Germany’s Eric Fenzel won the gold medal with Akito Watabe of Japan taking silver and Magnus Krog of Norway making up a tremendous margin and earning bronze after jumping into 20th.
In his first Olympic appearance, Bryan Fletcher of Steamboat Springs, Colo. finished just behind Demong in 26th after jumping into 41st, and brother Taylor Fletcher skied into 33rd.
"It was an extremely challenging jump. I think this is one of the hardest hills I’ve ever jumped in my life. The rhythm of the hill does not match how your feelings are, so it was really difficult to find the rhythm. I found it in the trial run today and went for it in the comp jump and kind of laid it all out on the line. Unfortunately it didn’t work out but we’ll try again next week," said Fletcher.
Six-time Olympian Todd Lodwick jumped into 34th, but pulled out of the competition in order to rest his shoulder.