Olympic gold medalist and 2009 world champion Billy Demong is gearing up this week for what could be his final FIS Nordic Ski World Championships, which start today in Val di Fiemme, Italy, with the opening ceremonies.
The plan right now is for the Vermontville native to retire after the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics in Russia, and then start focusing on his business, Demong Designs, which he runs with longtime friend Kris Cheney-Seymour, also from Vermontville. The two are based in Park City, Utah, and design skiing trails and venues.
"When I re-evaluate, it would, for sure, be quickly after the games and for a long period of time," the 32-year-old Demong said in a phone interview earlier this month, "but I see myself moving on after Sochi. I'm really focused on those Games and trying to do what it takes between now and then to be ready. ... I think five Olympics will be a good long career. I'll be 33 next year at the Games and while not too old to be a skier, for sure, I think I'll be at a point where I'm actively looking at how can I translate this into a career off the snow."
That transition was aided last year when Cheney-Seymour moved to Park City so the pair could work together.
While Demong has devoted a lot of energy in recent years to setting up the framework for Demong Designs, he said the focus until Sochi will be primarily on his skiing and jumping as he looks to add to his already stellar nordic combined skiing career.
So far, this season hasn't been Demong's best. A big part of that has been that he suffered from a case of the whooping cough late last year for roughly a month. That hurt his training and kept him from being at 100 percent for much of the winter season. But he indicated that he had been feeling stronger earlier this month and hoping to return to form.
Frenette inspired by Burke
While Demong is carefully planning for what may be the final stretch of his skiing career, Saranac Lake native and 2010 Olympian Peter Frenette is trying to establish himself as a ski jumper on the World Cup circuit.
Frenette has done pretty well recently, recording some top 30 finishes this winter. He is also scheduled to compete in Italy in the ski jumping world championship competitions this week. It will be his second time at the event.
"I'm excited to jump this year in the world championships. I have been jumping pretty well and hope to keep it going for world championships," Frenette told the Enterprise by email recently. "I think my better results as of late are mainly due to me being a little more relaxed. I have been on World Cup all year and am starting to settle in."
Frenette said he's looking forward to the mixed team event, which is new in the world championships this year. The team consists of two men and two women on one team. The women ski jumping team overall is very strong, so he's optimistic about the mixed team's chances, he said.
He also took note of Tim Burke of Paul Smiths winning a silver medal in the 20-kilometer individual race at world championships in the Czech Republic last week.
"It's also very inspiring to look at Tim Burke, who just won a silver medal at world champs this week," Frenette said.