FILE UNDER -- Nordic

TORINO: NC: High winds postpone team event; U.S. struggles

TORINO: NC: High winds postpone team event; U.S. struggles{mosimage}RAGELATO, Italy – An air of mystery and intrique surrounds the rescheduling of Wednesday’s nordic combined team competition that was halted because of gusty, swirling winds after the second and final round of competition had begun.

According to Pragelato press manager Ingo Jensen, officials are now looking to restart the competition with the second round as opposed restarting the entire competition, as had earlier been expected.

The competition was being restarted with the second round “because of the weather forecast it’s easier to only get one run through so you’re safer, in a way, to then get two jumps to count (including Wednesday’s first round).” The weather forecast calls for rain and snow.

The tentative schedule was to restart the second jump at 9 a.m. Thursday, with the cross-country at 3 p.m. The schedule was confirmed at 2:30 p.m.

U.S. officials were aware of the change. If the decision stands, it means the U.S. team will miss an opportunity to move up in the standings. And the Norwegian team, which missed the event due to illness, would not get an opportunity to compete.

Wind had forced the postponement of Wednesday’s nordic combined team event following the first round of jumping that left the USA 55 seconds back and well out of contention.

“We got a mulligan,” said U.S. jumper Todd Lodwick when it was the thought the competition would be restarted from the beginning. “It’s not really a break, it’s a blessing!”

Johnny Spillane led the U.S. team, jumping 124.0 meters in the first round. Bill Demong led off with a 120.0-meter jump, which Lodwick matched as the anchor. Olympic newcomer Carl van Loan, who had jumped strong in the team event at World Championships a year ago, had some-opening event jitters and went just 103.0.

The Germans were leading when the event was canceled, with Austria second and Russia third.

The wind was relatively stable for the first round, which began at 10:30 a.m. The second round got under way about 11:30 a.m. and problems came up immediately. The first few jumpers had beneficial headwinds, but Demong, jumping seventh, went only 107.0 as he was hit by a 2.8 meter-per-second tailwind — well outside of the approved wind range. U.S. nordic combined coaches immediately contacted competition officials, who were already suspending the competition.

After a wind hold of 47 minutes and a restart, the competition was called.

“It was blowing circles up there,” said Demong.

The team event consists of two rounds of jumping and a 4×5 km cross-country race.

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