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Hometown Cup well received

Doug Crowl

— Steamboat resident Jeanne Lodwick has a vested interest in the World Cup Nordic Combine. Watching her son, Todd, who placed second in the competition Sunday, is obviously reason enough to be emotionally involved.

“It’s incredibly nerve wracking,” she admitted before the start of the 15-kilometer cross-country ski race. “You just don’t know how it will turn out.”

Once, Todd fell right at the beginning of the race, ruining his chances at a good finish, while other times he skied well, sometime finishing first.

“I just want the best for him,” she said. “He has worked so hard.”

As it turns out, locals who came to watch the competition have a similar, personal reason to root for the Americans at the race.

Dan Bean of Clark, for example, said he came down to “cheer on the hometown boys.”

His wife works with the Lodwick family and he works with Jim Spillane, father of American athlete Johnny Spillane.

“This is just a great event,” Bean added.

Local Ed Hill agreed.

“To me, it’s one of the most exciting events,” he said.

Combining ski jumping with a cross-country ski race encourages mastering two distinct disciplines, he said.

Ed and his wife, Jayne, who bundled up to watch the ski race, housed former Nordic Combined athletes Ryan Hechman and Tim Tetreault for eight years.

“They are a great bunch of kids,” Jayne said.

Ed added that with the up and coming Winter Olympics in Utah, the American athletes in this event instill the right spirit competition.

“Theses guys aren’t making a heck of a lot of money,” he said. “It really represents the Olympic spirit.”

Jamie and Megan Morgan were scanning the ski jumping results right before the cross country race, getting clued in on who was starting when.

“I just came out to support it and see it,” Jamie said. “The jumping is pretty amazing, but the excitement of the (race) is what puts it over the top.”

The Morgans first became interested when they met an up and coming Nordic Combined athlete in the Winter Sports Club.

But not all who watched the race were locals with connections to the sport. John Steuterman, from DesPers, Mo. watched the ski race while his family was skiing.

“I always wondered what cross country skiing was about,” he said.

Steuterman said he was impressed with both the race and the jumping.

“There is always so much emphasis on the down hill, but this is pretty athletic,” he said.


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