American Bill Demong is a member of the strongest US Olympic Nordic combined team in decades. Demong and his teammates will be looking to bring home America’s first Olympic medal in the sport, after winning gold in every individual event at 2009 World Championships. Laurent Cipriani/AP
At the World Cup in Val di Fiemme earlier this season, silver medalist Todd Lodwick (l.) and gold medalist Bill Demong (c.) made US skiing history by both reaching the podium, which they shared with third-place finisher Eric Frenzel of Germany. Giampiero Sposito/Reuters
Austria’s Felix Gottwalk (in red) has returned to dominance on the World Cup after making a comeback for his fifth Olympics. As a boy, Gottwald says, he wasn't very talented athletically but learned at a young age to patiently pursue his goals. Now, he's the most decorated athlete in his sport's history. Alessandro Bianchi/Reuters
Six-time Olympic medalist Felix Gottwald of Austria is flying toward a possible new Olympic record for the most consecutive medals in an event. Ski jumping, in which athletes can see nothing but the sky when they launch themselves into the air, is one of the original Olympic sports. Alessandro Bianchi/Reuters
Americans Bill Demong (l.) and Todd Lodwick congratulate each other after their 1-2 World Cup finish (Demong won in Val di Fiemme, Italy, in January. Demong hopes to help younger skiers come up and 'make the US a superpower in this sport forever.' Armando Trovati/AP
Todd Lodwick (r) celebrates his World Cup podium earlier this season with Norway’s Magnus Moan (c.) and Jason Lamy Chappius (l.). Lodwick came out of retirement in 2009 to try to win some 'hardware' at his fifth Olympics. With two golds from Worlds last year, he's well-placed to do so. Laurent Cipriani/AP
Bill Demong is poised to bring home the America’s first Nordic Combined Olympic medal in Vancouver. A native of the Lake Placid, N.Y., area, he grew up driving by the towering ski jumps – jumps that still make his heart beat a little faster than in Europe when he stands at the top and looks out at the undulating hills below. Skip Stewart/AP/File
American Todd Lodwick, who made his Olympic debut in 1994, is one of 12 members of the 2010 US Olympic team that will be attending his fifth Olympics. Laurent Cipriani/AP
American Todd Lodwick sprints to a second place finish at a World Cup in Val di Fiemme, Italy, earlier this season. Lodwick's coach Dave Jarrett jokes that Nordic Combined skiers, which combines the explosive power of ski jumping and the endurance of cross-country skiing, are braver than skiers who are too scared to jump and tougher than ski jumpers who are too lazy to ski hard. Armando Trovati/AP
American Johnny Spillane could also soar to a medal in Vancouver. In Nordic combined, athletes' ski jumping performance determines their starting order in the cross-country skiing race. Their jumping points are converted to a time delay at a ration of 15 points to one minute, with the winner starting first and the rest of the field following at those intervals. Laurent Cipriani/AP
Austria’s Felix Gottwald celebrates a World Cup victory in Predazzo, Italy, earlier this season. As a TV commentator at Worlds last year, he watched US comeback kid Todd Lodwick win two gold medals – inspiring his own comeback in May. Alessandro Bianchi/Reuters
Ski jumping is the only Olympic door closed to women, who as a result don't compete in Nordic Combined either. A group of elite international women ski jumpers took their battle for Olympic status to the Canadian courts this year but lost on appeal. Alessandro Bianchi/Reuters
The Hindu nationalist government in New Delhi has brought the first prosecutions of Indian Army misbehavior in Kashmir ahead of local elections that will be finalized Dec. 23.
ByFahad Shah, Contributor
Kashmiris have lived in tension with Indian soldiers for decades. The Kashmir Valley is called Indian-controlled Kashmir by the overwhelmingly Muslim majority here and most chafe at the detentions and killings of civilians that have rarely been investigated or prosecuted since they began in the 1980s.