VAL DI FIEMME, Italy (Feb. 28 - News Release) —Johnny Spillane (Steamboat Springs, CO) won the first nordic gold medal for the United States in Olympic or World Championships history Friday by surprising the lead pack and out-sprinting everyone over the last 250 meters to win the World Championships nordic combined sprint at Lago di Tesero. Ronny Ackermann of Germany was second, Felix Gottwald of Austria third.
"I was going, and I just started skiing as fast as I could. It's a surprise to me — I've never sprinted like that — but I knew I was in good position for a medal…and maybe to win," said Spillane after finishing.
Spillane's previous best results also were this season when he made history with three back-to-back podiums at World Cups in Trondheim, Norway December 2002. He was second in the Sprint K120/7.5 Km (Dec. 6), third in Nordic Combined K120/15.0 (Dec. 7) and third again in the Sprint K120/7.5 Km (Dec. 8). Prior to this season Spillane had not had a World Cup top-ten finish.