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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Sunday, February 14, 2010

Winter Olympics: Spillane first American to medal in Nordic combined

AP Sports Writer

VANCOUVER, British Columbia Jump off a hill in the morning, do some cross-country skiing in the afternoon. That's what goes into the Nordic combined, a sport that's been part of the Winter Olympics since 1924.

And on Sunday, an American finally won a medal.

Johnny Spillane snagged the silver and Todd Lodwick narrowly missed joining him on the podium, finishing fourth. Spillane nearly got the gold, finishing a mere four-tenths of a second behind Jason Lamy Chappuis, who was born in Missoula, Mont., but has always raced for France.

Spillane's breakthrough bumped the U.S. team's medal collection to five, two more than any other country. Americans failed to win a medal in the other event decided by early afternoon Sunday, the men's biathlon 10-kilometer sprint.

Three more golds were to be decided on another warm day in Vancouver.

Among the things to watch on Day 2 of the Winter Olympics: A somber men's luge finals, figure skating cranking up and Canada's ongoing quest for the first gold medal on home snow or ice. The big hopes could be messed up in men's moguls, where among the favorites is a native Canadian competing for Australia.