Nagano 1998
Credit: Al Bello / Getty Images

When Lodwick arrived in Nagano, Japan, he was considered perhaps the best Nordic Combined skier on the planet and a heavy favorite to take the gold. But that wasn't necessarily an advantage. As Lodwick is quick to point out, "The Olympic Games are usually, percentages-wise, not won by the leader of the World Cup." He failed to buck the trend.

"To go into those Olympic Games as the favorite and come out and place [poorly] was miserable and disgusting," he says. "I felt so bad because of it. I knew that all I had to do was be myself and I couldn't do that."

But Lodwick bounced back and credits his longevity as a professional competitor with that early setback. "It's a learning curve," he explains. "Everyone needs to go through a bunch of failures to become successful."