Billy Demong landed his first podium since 2010, capturing third at the FIS World Cup Nordic Combined in Val di Fiemme, Italy. (STRINGER/AFP/Getty Images)
VAL DI FIEMME, Italy (Feb. 5) – Olympic gold medalist Billy Demong (Vermontville, NY) was back on the World Cup podium Sunday after making up a minute and 22 second deficit to finish less than four seconds behind Japan's Akito Watabe. Demong was 17th after the jump but posted the fastest cross country time to land on the podium. It was his first World Cup podium since a win in Val di Fiemme, Italy in Jan. 2010.
The third-place finish marks Billy Demong's (Vermontville, NY) first podium since winning gold at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games and first World Cup podium since winning in Val di Fiemme in Jan. 2010.
Demong jumped to 17th, had the fastest cross country time and took third.
Bryan Fletcher (Steamboat Springs, CO) matched his career best World Cup finish with seventh, moving up two spots after jumping to ninth.
Taylor Fletcher (Steamboat Springs, CO), fresh off a Continental Cup win, earned his highest World Cup result after jumping to 33rd and finishing 14th.
Johnny Spillane (Steamboat Springs, CO) was 19th, battling sickness this week.
Site marks the location of the 2013 World Championships.
The U.S. Team will take a week break and rejoin the World Cup in Klingenthal, Germany Feb. 18-19.
QUOTES Billy Demong It feels good to be back on the podium. I hadn't really thought about it until we got to the press conference and realized the last time I was on a World Cup podium was when we were in Val di Fiemme in 2010 right before the Olympics. It's been two years, and same location. It's good because it's the site of the World Championships next year.
Today I was a little more patient and made it happen. At the end of the race I had enough energy left to keep pushing. On Friday I started very, very hard and yesterday I was really tired. Today finally was a good race from the start to the finish. I’m really happy now.
The courses are super hard here. They are revamped. I don’t know if I ever skied a harder cross country course than today.
Bryan Fletcher Seeing Billy on the podium is extra motivation. I'm extremely excited for him and where we all ended up today. I've been trying to get on that step for a while. Today I jumped well and was right there. I was in fourth until the last 500 meters to the finish. I was so close. It just comes down to the sprinting and the luck at the last little bit. I'm extremely motivated now because of that and I'm hoping to get a podium before the year is over. I feel like I can do it. It's the goal.
Taylor Fletcher I was super stoked with how everything went today. My jumping has been getting steadily better and better over the year which makes things easier in the cross country. To actually put two and two together was a really good feeling. I'm excited to be going back to Klingenthal since I just won a Continental Cup there last week. My confidence is pretty high and I feel like I can continue a high level of skiing.
Dave Jarrett, Head Nordic Combined Coach All of our guys jumped really well, but we have to take out hats off to Akito Watabe who pretty much schooled everyone on the jumping hill and had a big lead. We just knew that this was getting more and more into the wheel house of where we can attack the podium. They did a really good job pacing and not doing too much at the front to help other people. They were in control the whole time. We've been putting a lot of energy into getting it going now and hopefully we can keep it rolling.