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Nordic combined and ski jumping profiles

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MATT DAYTON — A speedy cross country skier, Dayton did not learn to ski jump until he was almost 19. He's been a quick study. Dayton earned a spot on the World Cup tour last season soon after winning a World Cup B event in Utah. The 24-year-old Breckenridge, Colo., resident turned heads after placing sixth in a World Cup competition earlier this year in his home state.

BILL DEMONG — The reigning national champ, Demong had a half-dozen top-15 finishes during the 2001 World Cup season. Demong competed in the 1998 Winter Games at 17 and has developed into a skilled jumper. The 21-year-old New Yorker finished No. 11 at a World Cup nordic combined competition after finishing second in the jumping section. Demong could make a legitimate run at an Olympic medal in 2002. Demong also won the national 90K ski jumping championship last March at Utah Olympic Park.

TODD LODWICK — The foundation of America's emerging nordic combined team, Lodwick has claimed five World Cup victories over his career and has twice finished in the top four in the overall season standings. The Steamboat Springs, Colo., native is considered team USA's top medal contender. Lodwick, 25, has proven tough on home snow — half of his World Cup wins have been in America. He has won three U.S. ski jumping championships.

JOHNNY SPILLANE — Yet another Colorado nordic combiner, Spillane posted the best American result in the sprint competition at the 2001 World Championships in Lahti, Finland. Utah ski fans watched Spillane, 21, climb to the top of the podium during a World Cup-B event last season at Soldier Hollow.

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FELIX GOTTWALD — Austria — The top finisher in last season's World Cup final standings, Gottwald demonstrated his talent to American ski fans by winning the World Cup individual competition in Utah last January. He enjoyed podium visits a week later at a World Cup stop in Steamboat Springs, Colo., with second and third places finishes. Expect Gottwald, 26, to be among the leading medal favorites during the 2002 Winter Games.

RONNY ACKERMANN — Germany — Ackermann has developed into one of the world's finest nordic combiners. Only Gottwald had a better 2001 World Cup season. Ackermann, 25, placed second to Gottwald at the World Cup individual event in Utah. A bronze medalist in the individual sprint competition at the 2001 world championships, Ackermann has started the 2002 World Cup season strong, winning the first two competitions.

SAMPPA LAJUNEN — Finland — Fell to fourth in the nordic combined 2001 World Cup final standings after wearing the overall World Cup crown in 2000. Finished second in the nordic combined individual and sprint competitions at the 2001 world championships. Lajunen, 22, helped lead Finland to victory in the World Cup team event in Salt Lake City last January. Won a pair of silver medals at the 1998 Winter Games in Nagano, Japan.



ALAN ALBORN — The first American to fly more than 200 meters when he landed a 210-meter training jump earlier this year in Germany. Alborn is the reigning U.S. large hill champ after dusting the field at the national championships at the Utah Olympic Park. The 20-year-old Alaskan enjoyed a strong summer jumping season in 2001, becoming the first American to win three consecutive Continental Cup titles and has started the 2002 World Cup season strong. Alborn competed in the 1998 Winter Games in Nagano, Japan.

CLINT JONES — The wiry 17-year-old became the youngest national champion in any U.S. ski discipline in March 2000 when he won the U.S. large hill championship. The Colorado Avalanche fan started jumping at age 5 and spent a slice of last winter on the World Cup tour. Jones also competed in his first world championships in Lahti, Finland. The youngster's 2002 World Cup season is off to a surprising start — he finished ninth recently at a competition in Finland.

BRENDAN DORAN — Was a California-born soccer player until his family moved to Steamboat Springs, Colo., in 1990. When he saw the ski jumps at historic Howelsen Hill, "I was hooked." Doran won a '95 Continental Cup event and competed in the 1998 Winter Games in Nagano, Japan. He claimed his first national title in 2000 by outjumping the field on the 90-meter hill.

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ADAM MALYSZ — Poland — Malysz, 24, claimed the top spot of the 2001 World Cup ski jumping overall standings after winning a remarkable 10 individual competitions. Defending world champ on the 90- meter hill. Hundreds of Poles living across the United States traveled to the Utah Olympic Park last January to cheer the diminutive Malysz to victory at the Salt Lake City World Cup stop. Malysz's jumping success has made him a national hero in Poland.

MARTIN SCHMITT — Germany — Handed his World Cup crown to Malysz last season after winning the overall World Cup title in 1999 and 2000. The German edged out Malysz to win the 2001 large hill world championship. Finished second behind his rival on the small hill. Disappointed many local ski jump fans last season by not competing in the World Cup event at Utah Olympic Park. Schmitt was a member of the German team that claimed the bronze in the 2001 world championship team competition and the silver medal at the 1998 Winter Games in Japan.

NORIAKI KASAI — Japan — Helped lead Japan to a silver medal in the team competition at the 1994 Winter Games in Lillehammer. Has his own bilingual Web site. Finished fourth in the overall standings of the 2001 World Cup. Jumped 130 meters on the large hill at Utah Olympic Park to secure a Japanese victory during the team World Cup event last January.