While we are all suffering from PAToCD(Post Amgen Tour of California Depression) there is some very good news to report on the Nordic front. No, I am not referring to Norwegian Thor Hushovd's great win at the Belgian Classic season opener Omloop Het Nieuwsblad(AKA The Race Formerly Known as Het Volk). While we were all watching a bunch of crazies try to knock over half the AToC peloton on Palomar Mountain, two Americans made sports history and in a big way at that.
Lindsey Van, not to be confused with 2009 double World Alpine Skiing Championships gold medalist Lindsey Vonn, won the first ever, some would call it inaugural, Women's World Ski Jumping Championships. She did it on the 'Normal Hill' which means absolutely nothing since going off a jump on a pair of skis is far from normal in any sense of the world.
Just when you though it couldn't get any better for the American Nordic athletes, not to be confused with their 'Alpine' brethren, Todd Lodwick won the first ever World Championship for Americans in the Nordic Combined. Before I explain what the Nordic Combined is, let me just say that they have been contesting the Worlds in this sport since the beginning of snow so to be the first American is a big, big thing.
Also, if you know Todd's story it gets even better. He competed in this event in four Olympic Games and six World Championships and had never won a medal of any color. He retired from the sport after being skunked in the Torino Games, but came back after a two year layoff in hopes of being able to win a medal in the 2010 Vancouver Games.
But, just like the late night TV pitch men, there's more. Not only did Todd win the first Nordic Combined gold medal for the USA, he also won the second Nordic Combined event making it two gold medals.
The Nordic Combined is a two sport competition which requires the athletes to be good at both ski jumping and cross country skiing. In the traditional format of the event, the athletes do two ski jumps on day one then do a cross country ski race on the second day. They start out on the ski race with time differentials based on their jumping distance, the first skier across the line wins it all.
This year the racing federation tried another format as well where the participants skied first, accumulating points based on their time, then on the second day the points from their ski jumping were added to their total; the highest points taking the gold.
It could be debated which format is the most fair, but since Todd Lodwick won both events, it is probably a moot point. Also, of note, Bill Demong took the bronze in the traditional format event. You might remember Bill as the cyclist Chris Horner rode on his saddle over the final climb at last year's Cascade Classic when Demong crashed and couldn't ride his bike.
See, there was a cycling tie-in after all.