Spillane place 4th in World Cup Nordic event | SteamboatToday.com

Spillane place 4th in World Cup Nordic event

— Johnny Spillane came up just short in his bid to extend a hot streak that started with a victory at the U.S. Olympic Trials last month in Steamboat Springs.

Spillane, of Steamboat, was fourth Saturday in a Nordic combined World Cup event in Oberhof, Germany. He fell from second to fourth place in the final 200 meters of a 10-kilometer cross-country ski segment of the competition.

"For sure, I'­m ki­nda getting ticked at getting fourth, but it was another good event," Spillane said in a U.S. Ski Team news release. "I came into this year without too high an expectation."

His Olympic Trials victory ensured him a spot in the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Saturday's fourth-place finish was his third this season and his fifth top-10 World Cup finish.

"Certainly we will trade every fourth for a medal in February," U.S. Nordic Combined head coach Dave Jarrett said in the release. "He and Billy (Demong), both of them, put themselves in position to win. You can't ask for much more than that."

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Demong, who trained with the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club, finished eighth. Steamboat's Taylor Fletcher was 31st, and local Alex Miller was 45th. Brett Camerota was the only other U.S. finisher, in 33rd place.

Hannu Manninen, of Fin­land, won the event, beating Felix Gottwald, of Austria, and France's Jason Lamy Chappuis.

Spillane was a part of a tightly packed lead group and led the race through certain sections. He was ahead with 1.4 kilometers to go when Manninen passed him, and Spillane lost a chance at the podium in a sprint to the finish.

"I think I'm just trying a little too hard a little too early on the last lap," Spillane said.

The skiers return to action today in Oberhof. The World Cup circuit continues next week in Val di Fiemme, Germany.