Sochi 2014
Credit: Harry How / Getty Images

The Sochi Games in Russia haven't begun yet, but Lodwick is already off to a difficult start. While competing at an FIS World Cup event in France, he landed hard on the jump hill and tore his labrum while suffering additional tendon damage. That shoulder injury, combined with age, will naturally fuel skepticism about his chances this year. But Lodwick isn't showing doubt – he's not even sure this will be his last Olympics.

"I tested better this summer in every facet of endurance and strength than I have throughout my entire career," he says. "That just shows me that age is just a number. I feel like I am still competitive."

Part of being competitive, of course, is putting yourself in a position to win. Lodwick insists that his age and injuries won't end his career, particularly because he has a longer view of such things than most younger skiers. "For an athlete like myself, there's a lot of passion that's involved and a lot of love for the sport that I do," he says. "That's what keeps me going year in and year out."