Lodwick locks up sixth Olympic trip
PARK CITY, Utah – Todd Lodwick earned a spot in his sixth Winter Olympics, winning the nordic combined competition Saturday in the U.S. trials.
The 37-year-old Lodwick, who appeared in his first Olympics in 1994 at 17, won both the ski jumping portion of the event and the 10-kilometer cross country race. He earned 125.0 points in the ski jump and finished the race in 25 minutes, 27.6 seconds.
“Being able to say I am going to my sixth Olympic games is a daunting and humbling statement,” Lodwick said. “It’s definitely a monkey off the back.
“But I don’t think there was any doubt in my mind – even before this competition – that I was going to make my sixth team as long as I stuck to the plan, trained hard and competed well.”
Bryan Fletcher was second overall, and Bill Demong of Vermontville took third.
“We’re definitely going to have a target (on us), but our team is strong,” Fletcher said. “We have three guys performing at a high level. The best thing about that is we’re pushing each other really hard.”
Lodwick cleared the farthest distance of any ski jumper – going 95.5 meters on his final jump – to earn a favorable starting position for the race.
Demong matched Lodwick’s speed of 55.4 mph but jumped about 4 meters shorter.
In the race, Lodwick battled a stiff leg to push himself over the final hill.
“I knew all I had to do was get to the top of that and I could rest a little bit and power to the finish line,” Lodwick said. “Once I got over the top, it took the sails out of the other guys – especially Bryan – to catch up.”
Demong, 33, has competed in the last four Winter Olympic Games. He became the first-ever American to win an Olympic gold medal in a Nordic event in 2010 in Vancouver when he captured the 10-kilometer individual large hill title. Demong also skied the final lap for the U.S. relay team that won silver in the 4x5k large hill event.
The remainder of the 2014 U.S. Olympic Team will be selected based on World Cup and Continental Cup results. The announcement of the full team nominations will be Jan. 22.