Press-Republican

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February 7, 2014

After 2010 breakthrough, Billy Demong's still skiing

Billy Demong competing in fifth Olympic Winter Games

(Continued)

Nordic combined events start Feb. 12. The fact that the Americans aren’t widely considered to be medal contenders doesn’t bother Demong.

“I’m going over with the attitude that I’m capable of medaling as an individual, and I think our team is strong,” he said from Park City, Utah, where he now lives, shortly before heading overseas. “I’m not one of the favorites. I’m a dark horse. But I like being under the radar.”

And ending the medal drought in 2010 has taken some of the pressure off this time around.

“It took a long time to get the results we had in Vancouver, but now the first medals are out of the way,” Demong said. “We’re not afraid to not get one anymore; we can just focus on the process.”

FINDING HIS PEAK

Demong competed in Grand Prix events at the end of the summer and started the World Cup season in December. Seasons are usually geared toward February, when the World Championships or the Olympics are held, and he’s excited the hallmark event is finally here.

“For 10 months of the year, you suppress yourself a little bit by training a lot and not finding your peak form, because by definition a peak is a short period,” Demong said.

“Now it’s time to go through the icing on the cake — put the final touches on your training and allow your very best to come out.

“I look forward to, every year, this month where I’m able to be better than the rest of the year. I’m excited to … see what it feels like to be at my best again.”

Demong has competed in Nordic combined for most of his life, so it’s probably not surprising that at one point during his conversation with the Press-Republican, he used the phrase “if and when I retire.”

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