Todd Lodwick and Team USA left it all out on the course Thursday, finishing sixth in the team Gundersen large hill 4x5k competition, the final nordic combined event of the 2014 Sochi Olympic Winter Games. (Getty Images/Lars Baron)
ESTO-SADOK, Russia (Feb. 20) – Team USA left it all out on the course Thursday, finishing sixth in the team Gundersen large hill 4x5k competition, the final nordic combined event of the 2014 Sochi Olympic Winter Games. The four-man team, including six-time Olympian Todd Lodwick (Steamboat Springs, CO), jumped into eighth place on the large hill and then gained two spots during the cross country race, where Team Norway locked in the gold. The nordic combined finale is set to air on NBC’s Late Night Olympic coverage Thursday night at 1:00 a.m. EST and can be streamed in its entirety on NBCOlympics.com.
Team USA left it all out on the course Thursday, finishing sixth in the team Gundersen large hill 4x5k competition, the last nordic combined event of the 2014 Sochi Olympic Winter Games.
The four-man team, including six-time Olympian Todd Lodwick (Steamboat Springs, CO) in the final competition of his career, jumped into eighth place on the large hill and then gained two spots during the cross country race.
Veteran Billy Demong (Vermontville, NY) led the USA in the jumping round, anchored the team in the final leg of the cross country race and then posted the fastest time for the USA, passing the Czech Team to finish sixth.
Brothers Bryan and Taylor Fletcher (Steamboat Springs, CO) rounded out the American team with solid jumps and competitive racing, showcasing the future of the U.S. Nordic Combined Team.
Team Norway locked in the gold with Germany taking silver and Austria bronze.
The nordic combined finale is set to air on NBC’s Late Night Olympic coverage Thursday night at 1:00 a.m. EST and can be streamed in its entirety on NBCOlympics.com.
Demong and the Fletcher brothers return to the World Cup circuit on Friday Feb. 28 in Lahti, Finland.
QUOTES Taylor Fletcher We knew that we were going to have to be something special today to be on the podium. We knew that we had a lot of work to do. It was a little hope and a prayer to really put everything together for that podium, but we did what we could. I didn’t have a terrible jump. I’m happy with that. It’s just my first Olympic team event, so I’ve got to let it settle in. I’m still nervous at the top of the jump. I’ve had several years of World Cup, but it’s just something a little bit more special for the Olympics.
Todd and Billy put the sport on the map. USA Today just rated nordic combined the hardest Olympic sport. People know what nordic combined is now, and that’s because of them. Now it’s my job, Bryan’s job and the rest of the team to keep it there. With the help of the U.S. Ski Team and everyone’s sponsors, I don’t see any rhyme or reason why it won’t be where it is now and even higher. It’s just a matter of believing in ourselves and allowing it to happen, and it’ll come.
Bryan Fletcher The race started pretty well for me. I think it was a solid race. I made up a lot of time going towards Japan and Czechoslovakia and I was hoping that I didn’t go out too hard. I was able to keep a pretty high pace on the second lap, so I think I made up a good chunk of time and stayed right there.
It’s priceless. Todd and Billy have given us the confidence and the belief that we belong at the top level of World Cup, and it’s shown with Taylor getting a podium, my podiums and the fifth in the nordic combined triple this year. All those things wouldn’t have been possible without them. They broke down that barrier that prevented us from getting those results before, and now Taylor and I believe 100-percent that we’re going to be champions. Now it’s just a matter of putting the pieces together to get there.
Billy Demong We tried to reset. Honestly, I think the headspace was right. The important thing is as a group we were able to overcome any disappointment and kind of rally. Today wasn’t perfect, but I think we all enjoyed ourselves.
Todd was the frontrunner. He’s a special guy and nobody does it like Todd. He’s the one who broke down the barriers way back when. If Todd hadn’t started winning World Cups as an annoying 18-year-old to his older teammates, I don’t know where we’d be. He certainly showed us younger guys the way. He showed up to training and we kicked his butt and it helped us believe that we could do it too. So he’s given a lot to the sport over the years.
Todd Lodwick I really enjoyed getting up this morning and starting the day off right. The Olympic rings are something that, as an athlete throughout my career, you see in different ways. Lillehammer was the most amazing experience to that point and I really had a lot of fun. Going into Nagano I was way too serious and I didn’t really take in the Olympic Games for what it was all about. And so through the years and this being my sixth, I came here with the biggest smile. I came here with just taking it in, because I didn’t think I was going to be here. Sitting in an ambulance six weeks ago, thinking that these Olympic Games were complete done, I remember going up to each of my teammates’ rooms and saying to please don’t count me out.
From the first day I got back to Park City, I was on a treadmill, working my butt off to get to this point, to be a team supporter. I couldn’t have gotten there without my teammates, my coaches and Adam Perrault (U.S. Nordic physical therapist). He’s gotten my shoulder back to the most amazing place. I can’t thank him enough.
We’re all champions, and to be on this team and finish my career with this team...I have the most pride ever. Carrying the Olympic flag was almost a medal in itself.
Hats off to the coaches from years prior to get me to this point, and the people that really dedicated and sacrificed so much for us to be here, and I speak for the whole team. Hats off to the association at the U.S. Ski Team and the sports clubs that have pushed and kept this legacy going.