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Lodwick eager for Steamboat's World Cup event

— Nordic combined skier Todd Lodwick spoke with a new sense of confidence as he spoke with the media Thursday afternoon at Howelsen Hill.

It showed in his smile; it also showed in his mannerisms and, yes, you could hear it in his voice as he talked about this weekend’s events at the Ski Town USA Classic at Steamboat.

But more importantly, Lodwick has already displayed this new sense of confidence on the jump hills and cross-country courses in Europe over the past couple of weeks.

“I look forward to training now,” Lodwick said. “I was able to clear my head and I’m having a lot more fun now.”

The veteran U.S. Ski Team member took a short break before the start of the season in an effort to regain his mental focus. Lodwick, who is one of the strongest cross-county skiers on the World Cup Tour, has struggled on the jump hill the past few seasons. It’s been a frustrating situation for Lodwick and his coaches.

“I felt like jumping was the missing link,” Lodwick said. “It was the thing standing between me and a medal.”

In the first six meets of the season, Lodwick has seemed to put his jumping woes aside. In Kuopio, Finland, Lodwick has the longest jump in the field and finished seventh overall. His jumping has continued to be strong and his results have been impressive.

He placed eighth in another event in Kuopio, he was first in Lillehammer and he was fourth in Zakopane, Poland.

“It looks like we’ve got it fixed,” American coach Tom Steitz said of Lodwick’s jumping.

Steitz said Lodwick’s problems on the jump hill could not be attributed to just one thing. He said that Lodwick finally put it all together and that is why he has been so successful this season.

“I don’t see any problems right now,” Steitz said. “I think we are right on track as a team.”

Lodwick also feels like the team is on track and said he is eagerly anticipating the Steamboat Springs World Cup.

“We just want to keep things rolling,” Lodwick said. “I have some high expectations. I’m a little bit nervous, but that’s to be expected.”

Lodwick is currently third in the overall World Cup standings. Ronny Ackermann of Germany is No.1 and Felix Gottwald of Austria is in second.

To reach John F. Russell call 871-4209

or e-mail jrussell@steamboatpilot.com


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