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.
Lodwick entered the Torino Games in Italy assuming they would be his last Olympics (he retired after the closing ceremonies for two years), but he says he never let himself get emotional about leaving the sport behind during the competition.
"I never thought, "This is my last jump – none of that stuff ever crossed my mind. That's where people get in trouble," he says.
After he failed to place in the top three, the gravity of the moment finally sunk in and he had to face the fact that he'd been to four games and had never medaled.
"They were doing the awards ceremony for the top three, delivering medals to them," Lodwick remembers. "Knowing that I'd never get a chance to redeem myself at the Olympic Games and get a medal was heartbreaking. That feeling kind of resonated with me for a long time."
Credit: Pascal Le Segretain / Getty Images