Silver medalist Spillane has a local connection

MEEKER I There was a local connection during the 2008 Summer Olympics with Billy Nelson qualifying for the steeplechase event.
His father, Bill Nelson, is a supervisor with Summit Industries in Meeker.
There’s also a local connection with the 2010 Winter Olympics.
Johnny Spillane won a silver medal Sunday in the Nordic combined — it had been 86 years since an American won an Olympic medal in the cross-country event dominated by the Europeans. His parents, Jim and Nancy Spillane, bought Sonny and Sally Eatherton’s house several years ago up Miller Creek. The Spillanes live part time in Meeker and part time in Steamboat Springs.
Suzan Pelloni, former executive director of the Meeker Chamber of Commerce and a former professional skier, knows several members of the U.S. contingent, including Spillane and fellow cross-country teammate Todd Lodwick, also of Steamboat.
“Yeah, I know a lot of them. Todd and Johnny both are good ol’ Steamboat boys,” Pelloni said. “Last time I saw Todd was at my 10-year class reunion from the Lowell Whiteman School in Steamboat — his wife and I graduated together.
“I competed with Lindsey Vonn and Sarah Schleper in Vail, back in the day,” said Pelloni, who, as a teenager, was ranked No. 1 nationally for her age group. She was invited to try out for the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano, Japan, but didn’t make it.
“I also know Bode Miller and Marco Sullivan well,” said Pelloni, who continues to follow the sport she excelled in growing up. “Steamboat was and continues to be a melting pot of great skiers, alpine, Nordic and freestyle.”