Posted: Feb 23, 2:31p ET | Updated: Feb 23, 4:07p ET

U.S. 2nd going into XC relay

Lodwick leaps to furthest jump of his Olympics
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WHISTLER (AP) -- The Americans are in great shape to start the cross-country portion of the Nordic combined team event after solid jumps on the large hill.

The veteran team of Johnny Spillane, Todd Lodwick, Bill Demong and Brett Camerota will start two seconds behind the front-running Finns in the 4-by-5-kilometer cross country relay Tuesday.

Austria, the defending Olympic champion, is starting 36 seconds behind Finland.

"So far we've done our jobs, and now we've just got to go race as fast as we can," said Spillane, whose silver in the normal hill race was the first U.S. Olympic medal in the sport that combines ski jumping with cross-country ski racing.

The Americans are good cross-country skiers, and their solid jumps put them in position to challenge for another podium.

Camerota will start things off for the United States with Lodwick, its fastest skier, expected to build a big lead for Spillane and Demong, the closer.

All other countries are sending out their strongest skiers last.

The Americans have a combined 15 Olympics among them. They've honed their cross-country prowess in large part because they weren't strong jumpers early in their careers and were forced to make up big deficits on the course. They've focused on getting better on the jump hill in recent years, and it showed Tuesday.

"That was sick!" Lodwick hollered after sticking a jump of 136.5 meters. "How could I not be happy? I mean, I threw down, and it's just been an unreal week so far. We've had so much confidence on the jump hill. Unbelievable."

Lodwick said he was stoked for the relay because he felt the Americans were primed for another medal.

"We don't need to do something extraordinary," he said. "This is just another competition within our realm. We're doing what we've been doing all year, and that's the most important thing.

"And my longest jump of the whole Olympics just came on my competition jump? Come on. Let's throw down."

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