AKA BIlly’s mom
Saranac Lake, NY
Where it all began: In 1996, a promising group of 15-year-old Nordic Combined skiers caught the attention of Head Coach for USA Nordic Combined, Tom Steitz. He invited them to join a Developmental Nordic Combined Team, and hired a Norwegian coach, Bård Elden, to work with coach USA coach Chris Gilbertson to whip them into shape. This group of four athletes, Johnny Spillane, Carl Van Loan, Jed Hinkley & Bill Demong, worked hard with their coaches developing their jumping and cross country skills, and people started to notice. They were dubbed the “wolfpack” by a couple of European Nordic coaches, noting they were young, hungry, and worked together like a wolfpack.
At the 1999 Jr. World Nordic Combined Championships, this talented group of US Nordic Combined skiers broke through with a stunning first place podium in the [4 X 4] Team Event showing their incredible potential. The number on their bibs, #7, indicates they ski jumped to 7th place, and in the [4 X 4] cross country part of the team event, each athlete passed one or two competitors to go from 7th place to 1st place podium! This foursome went on to take 2nd place at the 2000 Jr. World Championship Team [4 X 4] going from 8th in the ski jump to 2nd place overall. Many more exciting things would happen with these athletes, a story for another time.