Count me as part of the group that had no idea what Nordic combined skiing was until last night. For those who didn’t watch (and like me grew up in the snow-deficient south), it’s basically a four-man team that competes in a jump portion of competition followed by a cross-country ski relay. A little further background: The U.S. had never gotten a medal in the team event. Ever.
But that changed last night when the U.S. team took silver and earned a place on the podium for the first time in 86 years. So, for simultaneously educating and inspiring me, today’s stud honor goes to Brett Camerota, Todd Lodwick, Johnny Spillane (an honorable mention from earlier this week), and Bill Demong.
The team quickly made up for their 2-second start delay after Finland, but in the end lost out to the Gold-defending Austrian team. For a while, I was confused by all the competitors’ seemingly depreciated pace in the cross-country portion, but then I realized that with heavy snow smacking them in the face, they couldn’t exactly quit walking and hail a cab. Tough weather conditions may have contributed to the second-place finish for the U.S., but silver is hardly a loss. Demong, Lodwick and Spillane (who to me seeps a charming, dorky Jim Halpert-esque appeal) have trained together for almost 15 years, and while they’ve experienced individual success, a team win was a long time coming. Congratulations, studs.
Honorable mention: Canada’s Ashleigh McIvor, who took gold in women’s ski cross. Aside from being cute as a button, McIvor showed veteran-style judgment in the semifinals when she opted out of taking a risky move and let Norway’s Hedda Bernsten pass her for first place. McIvor didn’t put her spot in the finals on the line, and it ultimately paid off.
Special award: American Mirai Nagasu spun herself into a nosebleed during the women’s short program. I never knew Olympics skating could double as NASA astronaut training. Blood coming out of your nose isn’t studly, but it does make you sort of a badass. For more on the ladies short program, check out Annie Barrett’s detailed recap.
So what do you think, PopWatchers? Who was on your stud radar last night?