Lodwick Headed to Historic Sixth Olympics
● By Grant Johnson
Sarah Brunson/U.S. Ski Team
PARK CITY, UT (Dec. 28) – Olympic silver medalist Todd Lodwick (Steamboat Springs, CO) earned an historic nomination to his sixth Olympic team Saturday with a victory at the 2014 Olympic Team Trials for Nordic Combined at Utah Olympic Park. Lodwick is the first American athlete to be nominated to a sixth Olympic team. No Winter Olympian from any nation has competed in more than six. Lodwick took the lead with his jump and stayed in front throughout the entire 10k cross country race. On Sunday, NBC will air a nordic special feature with a recap of Saturday’s nordic combined trials and a live broadcast of the men’s and women’s ski jumping Olympic trials at 1:30 p.m. EST
Lodwick clinched the nomination and won $10,000 in the winner-take-all competition Saturday. His jump put him 36-seconds ahead of Billy Demong (Vermontville, NY) in the 10k cross country race, where he held his lead for the win. Bryan Fletcher (Steamboat Springs, CO) once again proved his volatility during the 10k, posting the second-fastest time and cutting his margin down to 17.3 seconds. The remainder of the 2014 U.S. Olympic Team for nordic combined will be selected from existing World Cup events, and the announcement of the full 2014 Olympic Team nominations will be Jan. 22.
Speaking with reporters following the nomination, Lodwick said the following:
"Winning today was definitely a monkey off the back in being able to say that I am in fact going to my sixth Olympic Games. It’s daunting and humbling statement, but I don’t think there was any doubt in my mind, even before this competition, that I was going to make my sixth team as long as I trained hard and competed well.
I haven’t been this nervous for a competition for a really long time. And I think that is something that I’ve been missing a little on the World Cup tour. Today there was a lot on the line. And to be in front of friends, family and supportive people who have traveled so far to cheer us on as Nordic combined skiers and as the legacy of the sport is overwhelming. I thank the people from volunteers to coaches to athletes and for sure teammates that have pushed me to the brink of wanting to be a better athlete.
Today everyone is out there for themselves but in the end I need these guys in Sochi to call my awesome team. I have no doubt that the top guys will go to Sochi and we will be an awesome team and have a strong showing. For me today to put the emotional side away and compete at my best, especially in front of everybody, is very humbling. I can’t thank everybody that came enough. Unbelievable."
Teammate Bryan Fletcher reacted by saying "Todd had a great day today. I’m happy for him. He came out and put his best foot forward and did well.
I think that racing against your teammates is probably the hardest race you can do. You know each other in and out and you know what they're capable of and what tactics they're going to pull. So really you're just trying to outsmart yourself because they know you as well as you know them, so it's tough racing. It's a lot of fun for us to kind of mix it up and have a little cutthroat fun out there, but overall it just makes us better as a team."
Billy Demong is also supportive of his teammate, saying "I’m never surprised at what Todd can pull off. He has proven time and time again that he can pull through.
It was certainly a competition I entered thinking I would win. It was disappointing that I didn’t win, but looking back I had a good day and our team is strong. With the small variables that there are in outdoor sports, it can be anybody’s game. Todd certainly rose to the occasion today and Bryan showed that he’s very strong on the cross country course. I’m excited for the next round of World Cups to see what we can pull out as a team."