Nordic Combined Worlds Team Named

Nordic Combined Worlds Team Named{mosimage}The U.S. Ski Team will send five nordic combined skiers – including defending sprint gold medalist Johnny Spillane (24; Steamboat Springs, CO) and three-time Olympian Todd Lodwick (28; also Steamboat) – and two jumpers to the 2005 World Championships Feb. 17-27 in Oberstdorf, Germany, Nordic Director Luke Bodensteiner announced.

Spillane, the first U.S. nordic champion at the Worlds or Olympics when he won the sprint title at the 2003 World Championships in Italy, and Lodwick have produced five top-3s this season; Lodwick is third in the World Cup points and Spillane eighth. In addition to those two veterans, Bodensteiner said the nordic combined team at Worlds will include Bill Demong (24; Vermontville, NY; 1998, 2002 Olympian), Eric Camerota (20; Park City, UT) and Carl Van Loan (24; Webster, NH; 2002 Olympian).

These will be the sixth World Championships for Lodwick, the fourth for Spillane, third for Demong, third for Van Loan and first for Camerota. The two ski jumpers will be 2002 Olympic teammates Clint Jones (20; Steamboat Springs, CO) and Brian Welch (21; Scarborough, ME). These are Jones’ third Worlds, the first for Welch.

“This is a very exciting team for us,” Bodensteiner said. “In nordic combined we’re bringing a solid squad of top World Cup talents, and the nordic combined team event [Feb. 23] is one we’ve had our eyes on for a long time. We’ve been close before, including fourth at the ’02 Olympics, but now we’ve got four guys [Lodwick, Spillane, Demong, Camerota] who have been top-20 this season already. Success in that event will be real special to this team, and of course we have Johnny entered as the reigning sprint champion and Todd who’s third in the overall now, so those guys are notable individual contenders as well.”

In addition, he said two-time Olympic jumper Alan Alborn (Anchorage, AK) had qualified for the team but will not be able to compete because he injured his knee earlier this month in a skiing accident after returning from World Cup action in Europe. Alborn, who injured his left knee and faces surgery next week, holds the U.S. distance record at 221.5 meters; he returned to the World Cup this season after a year away.

“It’s sad to lose Alan,” Bodensteiner said, “but we’re also encouraged by the fact that he’s already looking ahead to his rehab, and planning to be healthy again in time for spring training.”

The two teams bring to 20 the number of American athletes who will be competing at World Championships; 13 cross country skiers – eight men and five women – were named earlier this month.

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