WHISTLER, British Columbia - American Bill Demong narrowly beat Finland's Anssi Koivurante to win a Nordic Combined World Cup individual start event on Friday at the 2010 Olympic venue.
In the first of two events this weekend, Demong won in 24 minutes, 38.9 seconds, with Koivurante finishing in 25:26.3.
"I feel great. This win is really two things. This is obviously the pre-Olympic World Cup so it's important to know these venues as well as possible before we come next year, and also this is the last weekend before I get a couple weeks off,'' Demong said. "(The Olympics) is still a year away. Right now it's a good sign that I'm on the podium at the Olympic venue. I think now we're getting used to the venue and the next season.''
Koivurante was ranked first after the ski jump but fell behind in the 10-kilometer cross-country sprint despite a 29-second lead. Demong passed Koivurante on the final hill, keeping the lead until the finish line.
Koivurante leads the World Cup standings with 643 points, followed by Magnus Moan of Norway with 556, and Demong with 515.
This weekend's competition is giving the Nordic Combined teams an opportunity to test the ski jumps ahead of the Vancouver Games.
"This is a world-class facility. The hill is great,'' Demong said. "The cross country course is good for both skiers and spectators because the course is challenging and you can see it from the stands.''
The nation grieved for those hurt, killed and affected by the Boston Marathon bombings. After one of the suspects was caught on Friday — following a day-long lockdown and manhunt — sports returned to Boston over the weekend.