Steamboat Springs Todd Lodwick found a simple way Wednesday to end rumors of his planned comeback: He confirmed the rumors are true.
Steamboat Springs' Lodwick, a former Olympic and World Cup star in Nordic combined events, said the idea of returning to the sport and international competition has been bouncing around in his head for more than a year.
"It's not like I woke up one morning and decided to do this," Lodwick said. "I'm committed to the sport; I'm committed to this comeback and whatever it takes."
U.S. Nordic combined head coach Dave Jarrett said Lodwick's return likely has a single purpose.
"I think Todd left some things on the course that he would like to rectify before he gets too old," Jarrett said. "He is not coming back for (U.S. Ski Team) jackets. : He has one goal in mind, and that's to get a medal."
Lodwick admits the drive to get back to the Olympics, to get another shot at the medal, drove his decision to return to the sport he left at the end of the 2006 season.
"I don't want to look back and regret not trying," Lodwick said. "If I don't make a move now, I may never get the chance again."
Jarrett said Lodwick approached him several months ago to discuss the possibilities of making a comeback before the 2010 Olympic Games in Vancouver, B.C.
Lodwick, 31, said he has logged 75 hours of endurance training in the past six weeks and has dropped the five extra pounds he gained while sitting on the sidelines.
"I was nervous when I went back to the top of the hill to jump this week," Lodwick said. "But it was like riding a bike for me. Once I pushed off the start bar, it all came back."
Jarrett says he has been encouraged by Lodwick's performance. Despite two years away from the national team, the coach said Lodwick has looked strong on the jump hill and on roller skis in summer training camps. He said his fitness level is excellent.
"He is doing a good job with our training program, and I would say he is on the right track," Jarrett said.
Currently, Lodwick is a member of the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club and is being coached by Todd Wilson. He is hoping to regain his spot with the U.S. Ski Team with top results this season but can't officially be named until next spring. He must meet the ski team's criteria.
"Todd is going to have to earn his way back," Jarrett said. "He isn't expecting - and doesn't want any - handouts. He will get some coaching from us and some camps, but he's going to have to earn this on his own."
Jarrett said he expects Lodwick to be back on snow this winter, vying to regain his spot on the World Cup by proving himself in lower level Continental Cup (formerly World Cup B) events.
"Todd is welcome to train with us," Jarrett said. "It's really positive right now, and his return has been good for the whole team."
Lodwick said coaches, athletes and fans should not expect the same guy who retired two years ago. He said the lessons he has learned away from the sport have made him a stronger competitor.
"I enjoyed my time away from the sport," Lodwick said. "But there is something lacking in my career. I still have some unfinished business to attend to."