By Bob Condron, USOC, retired
The Olympic sport of Nordic Combined is a combination of cross-country skiing and ski jumping. As a sport it is comparable to… well, not much, actually.
It’s one of the few sports in the Olympics that features two sports with their own gold medals. Since the Winter Olympics began in 1924, Nordic Combined has been on the program.
Cross country skiing is a near death experience, calling for super human endurance, legs and arms of steel, power and lungs the size of weather balloons. Ski jumping is flying, sailing through the sky a distance of one and a half football fields. And land like a butterfly. It helps if you live near Howelsen Hill in Steamboat Spring, one of the three recognized ski jumps in the USA.
Nighty-eight Olympians have come out of Steamboat Springs to represent 12 countries since 1932. In the 2018 Winter Games 15 Olympians called the town home, more than most countries sent to South Korea. The Steamboat Springs Chamber of Commerce says that one out of every 136 people in the mountain town is an Olympic athlete.
Todd Lodwick is one of those kids who hung around the ski jump hill and cross country trails. “As a little kid in the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club, I can distinctively remember wiring down my goals in crayon, saying that I wanted to be the best in the world.”
In 2009, he crossed that goal off his list. He won two gold medals in the 2009 World Championship, becoming the first person in the sport’s history to win both the Ski Jumping portion and the Cross Country competition in the same event.
Lodwick has made the U.S. Olympic Team six times, a feat unmatched by any U.S. Winter Olympian in all sports. He competed in the 1994, 1998, 2002, 2006, 2010 and 2014 Olympic Winter Games.
In 2010, he was a member of the U.S. Four-Man Team that won a silver medal. Vancouver was the medal breakthrough for the U.S. Team. Lodwick narrowly missed a bronze medal by .7 seconds in the individual race as the boys from Steamboat finished 2-4-6.
Lodwick capped his career as the Opening Ceremonies Flagbearer for the USA Team in the Sochi, Russia. He was 37 and had set the bar for the sport for two decades.
His overall career is the best in history.
He’s 29-time medalist in the Nordic Skiing World Cup with six gold, 10 silver and 13 bronzes.
He’s an 11 time U.S. champion in Nordic Combined and 8-time U.S. champ in Ski jumping.
He won the gold medal at the 1996 Junior World Championships in Asiago, Italy.
Lodwick was born, schooled and still lives in Steamboat Springs. He has two children Charley and Finn, and enjoys fishing, hunting and golf. He is affiliated with Mossy Oak Camouflage Gear and the American 300 Foundation, a supporter of the American military.
As a little kid in the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club, I can distinctively remember wiring down my goals in crayon, saying that I wanted to be the best in the world