Monday, February 13, 2006
She may only be six weeks old, but Charley Lodwick has already enjoyed the experience of a lifetime.
Charley's adventure included boarding a plane in Denver with her mother, Sunny, and the rest of her extended family for a 12-hour journey to Turin, Italy, to watch her father, Todd, compete in his fourth Winter Olympic Games.
"It really hasn't been that bad," Sunny said. "She slept during most of the trip."
Despite having to wait for an hour in the airport to get a stroller that she gate-checked, Sunny said it really hasn't been too difficult having an infant at the Olympics.
Todd said the idea of having his whole family close by during his final Olympic appearance has been comforting. He said he wouldn't want it any other way. He said even getting just a few minutes with his family has been a great way to escape the pressures and demands that usually accompany the games.
"It's been really nice having my family here," Todd said. "It's a big bonus, because they are a support system. If I have a bad day, my family is here to support me, and if things go well, they are here to celebrate with me. They don't care if you are first or last."
Although the family hasn't had a lot of time to explore Northern Italy outside of Ses-triere's main square, Sunny understood that's how it would be when she decided to come to Italy to support Todd.
"We just sort of hang out," Sunny said. "In Salt Lake City, there was a lot of pressure and expectations at the Olympics. It hasn't been that way this time -- it's been kind of relaxing."
When he isn't training, Todd has been able to join the family for dinners in a condo outside of the Olympic Village or at one of Sestriere's many restaurants. He has even been able to get Sunny and the baby into the Olympic Village, where they can disappear for a few hours of privacy and relaxation.
When Todd is at competitions or training, Sunny spends time with her family, who also made the trip. On Monday, they spent time strolling through Sestriere's quaint streets and shops.
Todd's mother and father are also in town for the Olympic Games and to help with Charley.
Unfortunately, Todd has been battling a cold and hasn't been able to enjoy Italian cuisine too much. Still, he has enjoyed the company of loved ones gathered around the table.
"I have lots of special experiences that I will take away from the Olympics," Todd said. "The opening ceremonies in 1994 were great, and I will never forget the team event in 2002, and now this."
Sunny said it is always difficult to watch Todd compete at the Olympics.
"I get nervous," Sunny said. "But I'm not as nervous this year. It's not like Salt Lake City when there were so many expectations for the American team. I know that Todd wants to win a medal, but he realized in Salt Lake City that it's just one day, not his whole career."
So no matter what happens Wednesday and Feb. 21, when her husband will compete in the final two events of his Olympic career, Sunny and Charley will be there to support him.