Rumors swirled Friday morning that a crash in a provisional competition round in Chaux Neuve, France, and a resulting shoulder injury would sideline Steamboat Springs skier Todd Lodwick for the looming Winter Olympics.
Lodwick, preparing to travel back to the United States for treatment, begged to differ with that diagnosis.
“Don’t count me out,” he wrote Friday in an email to the Steamboat Pilot & Today.
Lodwick punched his ticket to a U.S. record sixth Winter Olympic games when he won last month’s U.S. Olympic Trials in Park City, Utah, during a break from World Cup competition. The event in France where he was injured marked his return to that circuit and was the first of three World Cup stops for the skier before another World Cup break for the Olympics in Sochi, Russia.
U.S. Nordic Combined Ski Team coach Dave Jarrett didn’t comment on the extent of Lodwick’s injuries but said the 37-year old Steamboat native was en route to Park City for future evaluations.
“We are trying to get Todd home tomorrow to see a doctor in Park City,” Jarrett wrote in an email. “Luckily, we had a team doctor here with us, and he has been a tremendous help.
“Todd is in good spirits and wants to do everything he can to be ready for Sochi. We will wait for the full medical evaluation before make any decisions. At the moment, we are planning on Todd competing in Sochi.”
Jarrett said there wasn’t any complicating factors as far as the conditions on the jump hill were concerned.
“We are not sure what happened,” he said. “It was not windy, snowy or variable. His previous two jumps were pretty good and I think he really tried to squeeze everything out of it and came up craps.
“It happens in jumping, not too often, but it does. Bad luck? I don’t know.”
Lodwick has been able to mostly steer clear of injuries during his 20-year career. When he was involved in a head-on cyclist-on-car collision while training in France in July 2009, his bike was a wreck but he came away only with minor injuries. He helped the U.S. team win a silver medal in the relay that winter.
He fractured his elbow last summer and said he was out six weeks, but he had time to be back in World Cup form for the start of the season.
Speaking in November just before the start of the World Cup calendar, Lodwick said he realized how lucky he’s been.
“It was a big realization, and I’m thankful for what I get to do,” he said in November about the summer elbow injury. ”I’m thankful for staying healthy.”
The first Olympics Nordic combined event, the normal hill competition, is 33 days away. The large hill competition is 39 days out and the team relay event is 41.
If Lodwick can make it back, he’ll be the first American to compete in six Winter Olympics.