Bill Demong Ends 86-Year Drought, Wins America's First Ever Gold In Nordic Combined

The Unites States won its first ever gold medal in Nordic Combined on Thursday when Bill Demong won the Individual Large Hill/10km event. It only took 86 years.

And just for good measure, Johnny Spillane went ahead and won silver, too, giving America a 1-2 finish.

Vancouver has been the best Olympics for the U.S. Nordic Combined team by far. Entering the games, they had never won a single medal. And now, they will leave with four, one gold and three silvers.

Demong ended America's winless streak that dates back to 1924, when Nordic Combined -- a combination of a ski jump followed by a cross-country ski race -- was first introduced in the Winter Olympics. The 29-year old native of New York claimed gold on Thursday with an impressive showing in the cross-country ski portion of the event. Demong was in sixth place after the ski jump, but he attacked the 10km and turned in the second fastest time. In the end, his combined score was good enough to edge his teammate Spillane by four seconds. Austria's Bernhard Gruber was almost a full 11 seconds back and won bronze.

It was Spillane's third silver of these games. He also finished second in the Normal Hill/10km and the Team Relay.

More: SB Nation’s full coverage of the Winter Olympics and the 2010 Winter Olympics Medal Count Tracker.

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