Sochi will be the sixth Winter Games for American Nordic Combined skier Todd Lodwick, a record for U.S. Olympians. At 37 years old, Lodwick has been representing his country for the better part of his life, which means that, unlike most of his competitors, he doesn't see the games as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. For him, the international competition is more like a regularly scheduled appointment. We asked him about what he learned in each of his Winter Games and why he's still excited two decades after his first Olympic appearance.
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."
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