Steamboat Springs Todd Lodwick sealed his spot Saturday on the U.S. Olympic Nordic combined team, and he rewrote the record books in the process.
A single spot on the 2014 Nordic combined Olympic team was on the line Saturday at the trials in Park City, Utah, and Lodwick stole the show, becoming the first American athlete to make a sixth Winter Olympics roster. When Lodwick and the rest of the U.S. team head to Sochi, Russia, in February, he will join a short list of Winter Olympians ever to compete in six.
“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,” Lodwick said in a statement.
Lodwick used a first-ranked jump to pad a 36-second start on the 10K cross-country course. He came in fourth in the cross-country section to win by a little more than 17 seconds. Teammates Bryan Fletcher, Bill Demong and Taylor Fletcher were second, third and fourth, respectively, as Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club athletes dominated the top of the field.
The opportunity to lock down an Olympic roster slot didn’t come without a bundle of nerves for the 37-year-old skier. Lodwick, however, credits the pressure for putting him over the top.
“I haven’t been this nervous for a competition for a really long time,” Lodwick said. “And I think that is something I’ve been missing a little on the World Cup tour. Today, there was a lot on the line.”
The World Cup stretch thus far hasn’t been kind to Lodwick in stacking up to international and U.S. competition. In his four World Cup competitions since Dec. 7, Lodwick’s best finish was 11th place Dec. 8, sandwiched between 34th in Lillehammer, Norway, 33rd in Ramsau am Dachstein, Austria, and 44th recently in Schonach, Germany.
But Saturday provided a clean slate for the Olympic silver medalist.
Lodwick also grabbed a decent chunk of cash for his performance in Park City on Saturday, taking home $10,000 in the process.
Bryan Fletcher and Demong praised Lodwick’s performance in the Olympic Trials, but as a team, they said they already are looking forward to what’s next for the Americans as Sochi looms less than six weeks away.
“Todd certainly rose to the occasion today and Bryan showed that he’s very strong on the cross-country course,” Demong said in the statement, referring to Fletcher’s second-best 10K time. “I’m excited for the next round of World Cups to see what we can pull out as a team.”
The full U.S. Olympic Team nominations will be announced Jan. 22. Lodwick’s and his teammate’s trials performance will be aired at 11:30 a.m. Sunday on NBC in recap form.
To reach Ben Ingersoll, call 970-871-4204, email bingersoll@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @BenMIngersoll
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