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Posted: Feb 25, 2:58p ET | Updated: Feb 25, 4:43p ET

Spillane in second after jumping

Weather conditions force restart; jumping competition 'a joke' because of it

WHISTLER (AP) -- American Johnny Spillane is in prime position for a third medal in Nordic combined competition after worsening weather hampered the top jumpers on the large hill, relegating them too far behind the leaders to be a factor in the 10-kilometer cross-country race.

"It's a joke," Norway's Magnus Moan fumed after managing to jump just 112.5 meters in a driving, wet snow and headwind that had him starting 2 minutes, 21 seconds behind surprise leader Bernhard Gruber of Austria, who jumped 134 meters in much better conditions.

"It's like a lottery. Some guys got good conditions, some others terrible conditions," shrugged World Cup leader Jason Lamy Chappuis, of France, who won the gold in the normal hill 10K but will start this race in 29th place, just behind Moan.

With the top third of the 45 jumpers awaiting their turn in the morning, the jump competition was halted and restarted from the beginning because the weather was way worse for the world's top athletes. They jump in reverse order of their World Cup standings.

"The first round that they tried to hold off was just ridiculous," Spillane said during the redo. "It was so unfair. Now, it's still very tough conditions, but it's better than it was."

Not by the time the top jumpers went down the ramp, it wasn't.

They all contended the jump competition should have been wiped out again and restarted.

The sport's top five jumpers -- Chappuis, Austria's Felix Gottwald, Germany's Eric Frenzel, Moan and Germany's Tino Edelmann -- will start the cross-country race in 29th, 40th, 41st, 28th and 35th place, respectively.

Chappuis said the race officials didn't deem the wind bad enough to call another do-over.

"It's (shaping) up not like an Olympic competition. It's a shame," he said.

Spillane, of Steamboat Springs, Colo., wasn't complaining.

He jumped before the weather got really bad and landed a 129-meter jump, good for second place, 34 seconds behind the leader.

After Spillane, two more skiers went down the hill before the top five were done in by bad conditions.

American Billy Demong will start in sixth place, 46 seconds behind Gruber.

"Johnny and Billy, I see them in a hunt for medals," said teammate Todd Lodwick, who was in 14th, 1:13 back, after jumping into a wind gust and figuring his medal hopes were toast.

"I hope for worse conditions for the rest of them knowing that Johnny's in second," Lodwick said.

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