FIS Nordic World Championships Launch into History

Posted By: The Ski Channel on February 18, 2009 6:45 am

The FIS Nordic World Ski Championships open today in Liberec, Czech Republic—and this time they’ll leave an even bigger historical mark. For the first time ever, women ski jumpers will be allowed to participate, and the American ladies are ready.

U.S. Ski Team member Lindsey Van (Park City, UT) collected two continental cup podiums last weekend (third and second) in Norway, with teammate and fellow ‘Parkite’ Alissa Johnson taking a fourth place finish. And earlier this month, youngster Sarah Hendrickson (also of Park City, UT) won a continental cup in the Czech Republic.

The ladies will make history when the jumping takes place on Friday. "I’m trying not to think about it, but it’s hard,” said Van of the unprecedented milestone. “There’s lots of media attention on it now. I want the sport to take a step in the right direction and move forward—and I also want to enjoy myself and jump far."


The U.S. Team men are also stronger than ever, with Nordic Combined athlete Billy Demong (Vermontville, NY) notching his sixth World Cup career last weekend. And apparently, Demong didn’t ski his best.

"We know that he can jump even better,” said U.S. Nordic Combined Head Coach Dave Jarrett.

Demong beams after notching another win

Other U.S. Team stars will start among the 635 athletes from 62 countries. Among them seven Olympians, including World Cup cross-country winner Kikkan Randall and World Cup podium sprinters Andy Newell and Torin Koos.

"The athletes have been preparing for these World Championships as a main focus for the season," said John Farra, director of the U.S. Nordic Ski Team. "They are true fighters."

The World Championships kick off today with the women’s cross country 10K and run through March 1.

U.S. Nordic World Ski Championships Teams 

Nordic Combined

Bill Demong (Vermontville, NY)

Bryan Fletcher (Steamboat Springs, CO)

Johnny Spillane (Steamboat Springs, CO)

Eric Camerota (Park City, UT)

Brett Camerota (Park City, UT)

Todd Lodwick (Steamboat Springs, CO)

Cross Country


Chris Cook (Rhinelander, WI)

Kris Freeman (Andover, NH)

Torin Koos (Leavenworth, WA)

Garrott Kuzzy (Hayward, WI)

Andy Newell (Shaftsbury, VT)

James Southam (Anchorage)

Leif Zimmermann (Bozeman, MT)


Morgan Arritola (Ketchum, ID)

Caitlin Compton (Minneapolis)

Kikkan Randall (Anchorage)

Morgan Smyth (Vernon, VT)

Liz Stephen (East Montpelier, VT)

Laura Valaas (Wenatchee, WA)

Ski Jumping


Nick Fairall, Andover, NH

Anders Johnson, Park City, UT


Sarah Hendrickson, Park City, UT

Lindsey Van, Park City, UT

Jessica Jerome, Park City, UT

Alissa Johnson, Park City, UT


photo: USSA