No American had ever won a gold medal in a Nordic
event in U.S. Olympic history before Billy DeMong
took home gold in Vancouver in 2010. That's just
incredible, seeing how this is a sport that dates
all the way back to the original Winter Olympics
"It's something that I don't think about often,
but when somebody says it, it definitely resonates.
I think right now I'm really focused on what can
I do to increase that impact."
After winning two medals total in Olympic history,
the U.S. team took home four in Vancouver, and is
looking to build on that in Sochi.
"It's exciting to see this transition of a
team that built a legacy of results in a sport that
the United States wasn't historically good at, and
than see the transition of not just a few individuals,
but seeing a program that can earn great results
at a high international level like the Olympic games."
Half cross-country skiing, half ski jumping, Nordic
combined is truly a unique event.
"There are guys who are the best ski jumpers
in the world, but can't run a mile to save their
life. Then, there are guys that are the best cross-country
skiers and are 30 pounds heavier than me. So, we're
specialists. We specialize in being able to do both."
This will be DeMong's fifth Olympic games, but the
33-year-old's career almost came to an end back
in 2002 when he fractured his skull, not jumping
off a ramp, but into a pool.
"I dove in from pretty high up, hit the bottom
of the pool and fractured my skull. It ended up
being a year that I had to take off from ski jumping,
but it really ended up being a huge year of personal
growth for me. I got this idea of that I'm going
to enjoy this because this is a gift to be able
to be an athlete everyday. I really think it helped
lead to the success that I had in Vancouver and
the years leading up to that and since."