Todd Lodwick

Todd Lodwick makes history at U.S. Olympic Nordic Combined Trials

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Todd Lodwick won the U.S. Olympic Nordic Combined Trials on Saturday, becoming the first six-time U.S. Winter Olympian.

“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. “It’s daunting and humbling statement, 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 trained hard and competed well.”

Lodwick, 37, took a 36-second lead into the 10km cross-country race due to winning the morning ski jump in Park City, Utah. He held off Bryan Fletcher for the trials title by 17 seconds.

The rest of the up-to-five-man U.S. Olympic Nordic Combined Team will be named by Jan. 22. It is expected to include Fletcher, brother Taylor and 2010 Olympic champion Bill Demong.

“I’m never surprised at what Todd can pull off,” said Demong, who finished third. “He has proven time and time again that he can pull through.”

The U.S. Olympic Trials continue with men’s and women’s ski jumping on Sunday (NBC, 1:30-3 p.m. ET).

Lodwick’s 36-second lead was not insurmountable given he led after the ski jumping portion of the National Championships in October and finished more than one minute behind winner Demong after the 10km roller skiing portion.

Lodwick first competed at the Olympics in Lillehammer, Norway, in 1994 at age 17. He accumulated nine top-10s over the 1998, 2002, 2006 and 2010 Olympics before winning his first Olympic medal in 2010, a team silver.

The U.S. Olympic Nordic Combined Team hopes to build on its first Olympic medals from the Vancouver Games. Demong won the large hill competition in 2010 and the now retired Johnny Spillane added two silver medals to the team silver.

“I have no doubt that the top guys will go to Sochi, and we will be an awesome team and have a strong showing,” Lodwick said. “For me today to put the emotional side away and compete at my best, especially in front of everybody, is very humbling.”

U.S. Olympic Ski Jumping/Nordic Combined Trials preview, schedule

Rory McIlroy worried Olympic golf may be done after 2020

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Rory McIlroy believes golf may not remain in the Olympics after 2020 following a string of major champions announcing they will skip the sport’s return at the Rio Games.

“Because of how [Olympic golf is] being approached in golf circles … I’m not sure if we’re going to have another opportunity to win a gold medal after [Tokyo 2020],” McIlroy said ahead of the Wells Fargo Championship in Charlotte, N.C., on Wednesday.

In 2009, the International Olympic Committee voted to re-add golf and rugby to the Olympic program for the 2016 Olympics, with a review in 2017 if they would remain for the 2020 Olympics.

In 2013, Tokyo was elected host city for the 2020 Olympics with a plan that includes golf.

Beyond 2020, golf does not yet have a place in the Olympics. Its chances for the 2024 Olympics could come into focus when that host city is chosen in September 2017.

McIlroy, ranked No. 3 in the world, has repeated he will play for Ireland in the first Olympic golf tournament since 1904 in Rio in August.

Fellow major champions Adam ScottLouis OosthuizenCharl Schwartzel and Vijay Singh said last month they will not play in the Rio Olympics.

MORE: Golf Channel’s Olympic broadcast schedule

Abby Wambach to cover Olympics for ESPN

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Retired U.S. soccer star Abby Wambach is joining ESPN as an analyst and a contributor.

Wambach, the leading goal scorer of all time, will cover the European Championships in France and the Rio Olympics in August.

But her role won’t be limited to soccer: She will work across multiple platforms including ESPN Films and shows including “Outside the Lines,” according to the network.

“Talking and reporting on thing that I’m passionate about really, really was the selling point to me,” Wambach told The Associated Press. “Because I don’t want the rest of my life to be based on the fact that I played soccer. I want to be able to venture and learn about different things.”

Wambach also will produce a podcast, “Fearless Conversation with Abby Wambach,” which she promises won’t shy away from controversy. Among her first topics will be foreign players on the U.S. national team. Wambach drew criticism when she blasted U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann for bringing in “a bunch of these foreign guys” in December.

Oslo-born midfielder Mix Diskerud subsequently posted a message to Wambach on Instagram.

“I know we’re not quite equal. From ‘your group of people’ the country’s Commander in Chief need to be selected. However, other than that — you and I share something not unique, but constitutionally earned, a birthright to defend this nation as an American. Wherever we go. Led by whoever has earned, by democratic process, his/her right to lead, on or off the field, in peace, in war, in practice, or in any other kind of pursuit of your happiness,” he wrote.

Wambach said she’s willing to re-examine those comments.

“Why not? I think people tend to steer away from stuff that has caused controversy in their lives. For me, what better place to start? To be quite honest, it’s been few and far between in my career, the reason being that I’ve been speaking for 23 other women, so I kind of towed the party line during that time.”

Wambach, the FIFA Player of the Year in 2012, scored 184 career goals, more than any other player, male or female. She played 15 years with the U.S. women’s national team.

She capped her career last summer with the sport’s most prestigious championship when the United States defeated Japan 5-2 in Canada at the World Cup. It was the third World Cup title for the U.S. women and first since 1999.

Wambach appeared in four World Cups with the national team. She also has a pair of Olympic gold medals, from the 2004 Games in Athens and the 2012 Games in London. She did not compete in the Beijing Games because of a broken leg.

Wambach announced her retirement in October and played her final match in December.

Since she stepped away from the team, she has made several appearances at charity events and campaigned for Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

During the course of her career, Wambach has been active in fighting for equal rights for female athletes. She led a group of players in protest of FIFA’s decision to play the 2015 World Cup on artificial turf, which is considered by many to be inferior to grass.

She made headlines last month when she was pulled over for driving under the influence in Portland, Ore., where she lives. After posting a public apology on her Facebook page, she pleaded guilty and entered a diversion program for first-time offenders.

MORE: Five Olympic questions with Abby Wambach