Congratulations, attention create whirlwind for Spillane family |

Congratulations, attention create whirlwind for Spillane family

Members of Johnny Spillane's family, including mom Nancy, left center, and wife Hilary, right center, react after Johnny won silver medal in the normal hill individual Gundersen event at the Winter Olympics.
John F. Russell

— If you e-mailed Nancy Spillane this week and haven’t got a response, you’re probably not alone.

Nancy, the mother of Steamboat Springs’ newest Olympic medalist, said she had more than 500 e-mails in her inbox when she checked her computer Monday, the day after Johnny won the silver medal in the Nordic combined normal hill event at Whistler Olympic Park in British Columbia.

“I’m still working on responding to them all,” Spillane said Wednesday morning before taking in an Olympic cross-country event. “They are great, and I appreciate everyone who sent them.”

Johnny Spillane and the rest of the U.S. Nordic Combined Ski Team left Whistler early Monday and returned to Park City, Utah, to train between events. The team is expected to return Saturday when training resumes at the Olympic venue, and it will compete Tuesday in the Nordic combined team event.

Nancy is happy that Johnny could get out of town for a few days after a crazy night Sunday and early Monday morning. She reported that after not getting any sleep in the hours after winning the medal, Johnny slept for 14 hours after returning to Utah. He had dinner Tuesday night with his wife’s parents and was able to share his newly won medal with them, as well.

Jim Spillane, Johnny’s dad, said the anxiety leading up to and during the first event was almost more than the family could bear.

But he expects things to be a bit more relaxed for the final two Nordic combined events, which are scheduled for next week.

“We are just as pumped to watch him compete in the final events, but it was a huge release when Johnny got the medal,” Jim said. “I’m sure we will still get some butterflies next week, but it will be a lot more relaxed now.”

That’s good news for Nancy, who got a scare Sunday when the left side of her body went numb while she watched her son race for the medal. As a precaution, she sent a family member to get aspirin after Johnny’s historic win and was surprised when a medic returned and requested that she go to a nearby tent for evaluation.

“Right after Johnny won, he wanted me to go with him,” Nancy said. “I told him no way was I going to miss any of this and that he would just have to wait.”

The medic stayed with Nancy until she could be evaluated after the flower ceremony.

Doctors decided she had hyperventilated during the excitement of the event, and she said she is fine now.

Since that day, Nancy said she was thrilled with all the attention Johnny and the U.S. Nordic combined team have been getting, and she said she was happy that Steamboat Springs could share in his accomplishment. It’s hard for her to decide what her proudest moment has been, but she said this is something that Johnny shares with his coaches, teammates and the community of Steamboat.

“The team has finally done it,” Nancy said. “There are a lot of people who contributed to this medal — it’s not just Johnny who won it.”

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