Home of Johnny Spillane – Class of 1999, Two Olympic Silver Medals, 2010
At the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver, Johnny Spillane broke through a glass ceiling no other American ever had; he won the first medal EVER for a U.S. competitor in the Nordic Combined Individual. Silver at that! The next week, he and “Team Steamboat” won the silver medal in the Nordic Combined Team Event. The team consisted of Billy Demong, Todd Lodwick, Brett Camerota and Johnny Spillane. Johnny then went on with Billy Demong to dominate the Big Hill event – taking the silver again and helping Billy earn the gold. All of these medals are earth shaking for the U.S and anyone who has watched Nordic Combined in the past. In January, Johnny had already rocked things when he became the first American to win the World Championship in Nordic Combined. He had set records early in his career as well; in 2003, he won a World Championship medal in a sprint. He explained in a recent interview that he'd had a rough summer, suffering from knee injuries, but he and the team had a goal and they were in it to win it.
Olympic Nordic Combined Coach Dave Jarrett (LWS alum, class of 1989) was one of the many who helped Johnny along his path. As Coach Jarrett pointed out, so many people were involved in the team's success for many, many years including long-time SSWSC Nordic Coach Tom Steiz, (father of Korie Steitz, class of 2005).
Johnny also said in a recent interview that he has not forgotten his school [LWS] or the support he has in his hometown. “This win began 15 years ago when we decided to train together in Steamboat – to go for it and we did.”
The Nordic Program in Steamboat Springs is one of the oldest in the country beginning in the early 1900's. But the sport is far older In Europe. Cross country and ski jumping have a tremendous following with many young athletes participating. The U.S. Nordic skiers have been struggling for years to compete on the same level, especially in the Combined event. When Johnny Spillane and the rest of the 2010 Olympic Team including Todd Lodwick (wife Sunny is a LWS alumna) won medals in Vancouver, everyone was very surprised. This hard working team put themselves, the U.S., Steamboat Springs, SSWSC, and The Lowell Whiteman School on the map in Nordic Combined. The whole world was watching. Americans paid attention to Nordic Combined for the first time. now most of them even know what it is.
"President Obama even mentioned Johnny's name during a speech in Denver," proud father Jim Spillane said. (Jim was the LWS Head of School for many years.) "It's pretty exciting if even he knows who did well in the Olympics and he knows about Nordic Combined. It's wonderful for Americans to be on the podium. But you would be amazed how the Europeans were pulling for us to do well. They want to see the sport grow. They would of course, rather that they won, but they were thrilled for the U.S. Nordic is a very small world and a close group of athletes and coaches that crosses international borders."
The Lowell Whiteman School and SSWSC have produced many notable Nordic competitors and Olympians. These include:
Check out his page for all his results. Four-time Olympian & Silver Medalist, Johnny’s 2010 Olympic team spot was assured when he easily won the Nordic Combined Trials in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, in front of his home town crowd in December ‘09. He went on to win his first individual World Cup in O- berhof, Germany in January 2010 making him the first American to win a Gold medal in World Championships history in Nordic Combined. He is also the first U.S. athlete to medal in Nordic Combined in the Olympics.
Clint Jones `04
Competed in the 2002 & 2006 Olympics.
Tommy Schwall `02
Ryan Heckman `93
Competed in the 1992 and 1994 Olympics.
Dave Jarrett `89
Two-time Olympian and 2010 US Nordic Combined Team Coach.