Retirement - what now, Billy Demong?
With the end of the season of 2014/15, a number of Nordic Combined big names called it quits. Until the action starts with the Summer Grand Prix of 2015, fis-ski.com will check in with some of the retirees to see what the first months without Nordic Combined were like, what they are focussing on now and what they plan to do in the future, after their active careers.
Starting out is American veteran Billy Demong. Demong, who can call himself World and Olympic champion, had 184 World Cup starts and 9 individual victories to his name before deciding to end his career.
For you, the retirement was a process, stretching out over the past season in which you did attend some competitions and also helped out the team on the marketing side. When did you make the final decision to stop competing?
Demong: I really wanted to finish my career after Sochi. I figured five Olympics was enough! Unfortunately, the national ski federation cut the funding to Nordic Combined (as they had with ski jumping in 2008) and I felt obligated to fight for the guys because we have so much talent in the pipeline. After spending the summer fundraising I decided to do one more year. I love Nordic Combined and I love competing but I was ready to open a new chapter in my life.
How has the time since then been, do you miss the training in a way or are you happy to have the time to focus on other things?
Demong: I’m enjoying new challenges, cerebral ones! I don't miss training yet but I do miss being in that shape! I still get out a few times a week but now it's about adventure and it feels like a treat!
What do you do an a day to day basis now?
Demong: I am the new sponsorship and marketing coordinator for ReynoldsCycling. It's a great opportunity because it is a small but global brand. I get to work with folks all over the world and continue in the sports industry.
On Social Media, we could see that you also had a big send off party at home in the US. Tell us a little bit what happened.
Demong: My amazing wife, Katie, and my mother organized a great celebration with everyone who contributed to my career. It was at the top of the large hill in Park City on a beautiful evening to enjoy the view and reflect on nearly 20 years of flying!
When is the next time we might see you at an international Nordic Combined event?
Demong: Probably pretty soon! (laughs) Lahti World Championships for sure!