Tuesday, December 30, 2003
Three-time Olympian Todd Lodwick captured his first World Cup podium finish in two years Tuesday in Oberhof, Germany.
Lodwick finished third behind Germany's Ronny Ackermann and Austria's Felix Gottwald in the Nordic combined event.
Lodwick was third after the first round of jumping and fifth after the second round on the K120 hill, putting him 21 seconds ahead of Gottwald to start Tuesday's 15K cross country race.
Lodwick moved up two spots to come in third overall.
Lodwick had the eighth fastest time in the 15K, finishing 1 minute, 6.6 seconds behind Ackermann and 13 seconds behind Gottwald, who caught Lodwick from behind.
"My plan was to stay with Felix when he came up to me," Lodwick said. "My jumping went well, and it was a good race. I just couldn't catch him at the end."
Lodwick's podium finish is the best World Cup result the Steamboat Springs skier has had since the 2002 Olympic season when he won in Beitostolen, Norway, and took second at an event in Steamboat.
Ackermann's win, his fifth in the six World Cup events this season, came on his home soil in front of an estimated 10,000 fans.
"The whole competition was amazing," Lodwick said. "(There were so) many spectators who shouted. That is great. I hope we have more competitions like that."
Lodwick spent the holidays relaxing in Steamboat between the first and second periods on the World Cup tour.
Lodwick's third-place finish Tuesday was preceded by two eighth-place finishes before the first period ended in mid-December. Lodwick said an illness hampered him during the early weeks of the season and moved him back in the overall standings.
After Tuesday's third-place finish in Oberhof, however, Lodwick is back among the top 10 in the overall standings with 161 points.
Ackermann is the leader with 550 points, 150 ahead of Finland's Hannu Manninnen.
"I am so happy," Lodwick said. "I was sick at the beginning of the season, and now, over Christmas, I could relax at home and get totally healthy. I am a bit surprised that it worked out so well, that I could be on the podium already in Oberhof."
The next event in the German Grand Prix, the annual three-event series within the World Cup schedule, is a sprint (one K90 jump and 7.5K race) Friday at Reit-im-Winkl, Germany.
Sprint World Champion Johnny Spillane is not competing in the German Grand Prix but is expected to rejoin the U.S. Nordic Combined Team before the Jan. 10 and 11 events in Seefeld, Austria, coach Bard Elden said.
Spillane is trying to get rid of a cold and is jump training in Park City, Utah.