With excitement in the air for our US Olympic Nordic Combined team, well over 100 people crowded into into the top level of the lodge at the base of Howelsen Hill getting ready to cheer on the Americans and local Steamboat men Johnny Spillane and Todd Lodwick. Every one was ready at 3 for the race to begin and crowded around 2 tvs that were broadcasting a live internet feed of the race. Starting a mere 2 seconds behind the Finns after the ski jumping, the US team finished the first leg still in first but the rest fo the field had closed the gap.
A race consistating of 4 teammates each racing a 5k, each athlete raced for about 15minutes, a long, solid effort. Without a live tv feed, we were required to use the internet to stream the video, which was a bit spotty. The chorus of groans when the feed went out was louder only when the race momentarily cut out to watch the skier cross final; while a fun race it was not an event anyone was particluarly interested in watching at this moment. But it was a gutsy race for the American team, Todd Lodwick was the second leg, and spent his leg feeding off the Australian leader, switching the lead for first no less than 3 times. Johnny Spillane struggled a bit to finish his leg and put Bill Demong in position to chase the leader. Making up for a 15 second gap over the first half of his leg, the entire crowd in Howelsen was standing and screaming as the two traded spots for the gold position. In the final 200m Demong was out-kicked by the opposing Austrian. But a Silver medal, awesome! A great effort by the Americans and a few of the Steamboat locals!