Billy Demong, Olympic Gold Medalist, Nordic Skiing
With a career on the snow of over 15 years Billy Demong has produced some staggering numbers and memorable moments as America’s best-ever nordic combined skiier. In addition to his gold and silver medal performance at the 2010 Olympics Games (historic firsts for Team USA), Demong is already a four-time Olympian, a 22-time World Cup Medalist (nine of which are gold), a record setting nine-time U.S. World Team member and an eight-time U.S. National Champion.
What got you started in your sport?
From an early age I always loved to race: to the mailbox, to the school bus, in the pool. When my dad entered me in my first cross country ski race I found my passion and even at age 5 knew that the goal was to get to the finish line first! From that point on I was driven to practice and to make myself faster and faster. I've been fortunate to have found a sport that I am passionate about from the training to the thrills of flying and the hard work and pain of skiing fast uphill and cross country!
What advice would you give to students about following their passion/their dreams?
Work on your strengths! Find what excites you and inspires you to look deeper. Ask yourself the question "What am I good at?" Not just on the surface but in the process. I am also a big believer in "Performance Roadmaps!" Putting your biggest goal down on paper and then building yourself a process of short term and long term mile markers and goals to keep on track.
How do you give back?
I have a passion for sharing my experiences and lending my support to organizations. I am on the board of the National Nordic Foundation and now have even more respect for its role as I see first-hand how resources are respected and allocated for growth and support of our athletes. After our family's incredible experience at Primary Children’s Medical Center with our son, Liam, I feel indebted to this organization. My wife and I have contributed to them however we can. I also serve on other non-profit boards such as Play Well Play Safe, an organization I co-founded with Eric Heiden to promote safe and effective sport participation and performance. On the ground I like to attend events and opportunities to coach kids on skis and off and share the story of my journey and what it takes to chase your dreams.