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