EXPERIENCED ATHLETES HEAD 2006 NORDIC TEAMS{mosimage}Six-time World Cup winner Todd Lodwick (Steamboat Springs, CO) and former sprint world champion Johnny Spillane (also Steamboat Springs) headline an eight-member U.S. Nordic Combined Ski Team for the 2006 Olympic season, U.S. Nordic Director Luke Bodensteiner announced.

At the same time, Bodensteiner said Olympians Alan Alborn (24; Anchorage, AK; 2002 Olympics) and Clint Jones (20; Steamboat Springs, CO; 2002 Olympics) would form the 2006 U.S. Ski Jumping Team.

The nordic combined team includes five Olympians. Lodwick is aiming for his fourth Olympic Team while Spillane is a two-time Olympian, as is Bill Demong (Vermontville, NY).Lodwick had four top-3s and finished fourth in the 2005 nordic combined World Cup standings, his eighth consecutive season in the sport’s top eight athletes. He also won three more U.S. championships – two in jumping and the nordic combined crown in March as he extended to eight his own record for U.S. combined titles and tied a 77-year-old mark with his seventh U.S. jumping championship.

Spillane had one podium before being hobbled at the World Championships in February with a back injury, which ended his season a month early. He had no opportunity to defend his sprint title.

The 2006 nordic combined team (age, hometown, Oympic experience): Brett Camerota (20, Park City, UT), Eric Camerota (20; Park City, UT), Bill Demong (25; Vermontville, NY; 1998, 2002 Olympics), Alex Glueck (22; Steamboat Springs, CO), Jed Hinkley (23; Andover, NH; 2002 Olympics), Todd Lodwick (28; Steamboat Springs, CO; 1994, 1998, 2002 Olympics), Johnny Spillane (24; Steamboat Springs, CO; 2002 Olympics) and Carl Van Loan (24; Webster, NH; 2002 Olympics).

“Todd and Johnny have shown they can be podium contenders in every event,” Bodensteiner said, “and Billy made major improvement in getting back to where he was in 2002 before his injury [preseason fractured skull], including his first top-10 in three years. He can be every bit as competitive as Todd and Johnny this season.

“Our primary focus is the team event, where we were fifth at this year’s World Championships,” he said. “And if we’re prepared to challenge in the team event, we can also do the same in each of the individual events. Carl had a great World Championships last year and will elevate the team. Eric had a strong debut on the World Cup last season. Brett is young and improving quickly, and Jed and Alex can’t be overlooked either.”

In jumping, Jones had three top-30 World Cup results this past season while Alborn returned after a year away but a midseason knee injury, sustained on an off day, ended his season abruptly.

“Clint and Alan are two young talents. We sometimes forget how young they are and yet how much they’ve packed into their careers,” Bodensteiner said. “Motivation is no problem for either of them, especially in an Olympic season. These two are totally focused on the top-level, important results.”

-U.S. Ski Team Press Release

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