Demong picked to carry U.S. flag

VANCOUVER, British Columbia -- Olympic Nordic combined gold medalist Billy Demong will be flag bearer for the U.S. Olympic team at the closing ceremony on Sunday.

The 29-year-old from Vermontville, N.Y., won a gold medal and proposed to his girlfriend on Thursday before being chosen by his teammates to carry the flag.

"Being chosen as flag bearer is a phenomenal honor," Demong said. "It could have been any one of my teammates, and it is meaningful that our peers are taking notice of what we've achieved."

Demong made history by winning the United States' first Nordic combined gold medal in the large hill competition with a time of 25:32.9, four seconds ahead of teammate Johnny Spillane of Steamboat Springs, Colo.

Demong's celebration continued Thursday night when he proposed to girlfriend, Katie Koczynski.

"I don't remember too much -- it's been a whirlwind of a day," he said. "I think people have really found out how exciting our sport can be, and these Games have been a fantastic way for everything to come to fruition."

Demong won two medals in Vancouver. In addition to the gold, he joined teammates Spillane, Todd Lodwick of Steamboat Springs, Colo., and Brett Camerota of Park City, Utah, to win silver in the Nordic combined relay.