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Lodwick’s comeback taking flight

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Todd Lodwick jumps to a win during the Continental Cup Nordic combined competition on Sunday at the Utah Olympic Park in Park City.

Todd Lodwick jumps to a win during the Continental Cup Nordic combined competition on Sunday at the Utah Olympic Park in Park City.

Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

PARK CITY — He's back.

In his first international competition in two years, Todd Lodwick made sure the rest of the world knows his comeback is for real.

Retiring after the 2006 Olympics, the four-time Olympian won his second FIS Nordic Combined Continental Cup of the weekend with an impressive performance on the cross country course at Soldier Hollow Sunday. Teammate Brett Camerota finished in second place.

After a disappointing 87-meter jump, Lodwick started about a minute behind Austria's Dominik Dier, who had the day's longest jump. The jumping was delayed due to wind and then judges changed the gate athletes had to use. Saturday's jumping was canceled due to a snowstorm, and athletes used training jumps from Friday for seeding.

"Some people were a little unlucky today," Lodwick said after the jump competition at the Utah Olympic Park Sunday morning. "I won't say I was one of them, but I didn't have the jumps I would have like to have."

Both Lodwick and Camerota said the delays can be frustrating, but most athletes are used to them.

"That's a jumping competition," said Lodwick. "It's an outdoor sport."

Camerota added, "It's a little frustrating because you're kind of nervous and you want to jump. You just have to stay focused and not let it get to you."

Lodwick, who decided to come out of retirement last spring, overtook Dier on the second lap. He knew after Sunday morning's jumps that he had his work cut out for him on the cross country course.

"The cross country is going to be some work today," he said. "But it will still be fun."

The Americans swept the podium Saturday afternoon with teammate Brett Camerota, Park City, finishing second, and Bryan Fletcher, Steamboat Springs, Colo., earning third place. Defending series champion Marco Pichlmayer of Austria was fourth.

On Sunday, Lodwick was first, Camerota was second and Pichlmayer was third. Lodwick said the cross country race on Sunday was a big test for him.

"Today was a cross country race for me, yesterday was a warm-up," he said, after winning the cross country race. "Today I had to earn it."

Although Lodwick has been training with the U.S. Ski team all summer, the father of two small children said he is just now feeling like he's in competition shape.

"I'm just now starting to get back to normal," he said.

The Americans had four athletes finish in the top six in Sunday's competition.

"Four in the top six, not a bad day," said U.S. Ski Team coach Dave Jarrett. "Alex Miller had a great race today. He's been a strong jumper, and we've been working on his cross country. This should give him a lot of confidence."

Saturday's sweep was the first time the USA has swept a Continental Cup (formerly known as World Cup B), a series featuring all of the top budding stars in the world. The athletes now head to Vancouver for another competition.


E-mail: adonaldson@desnews.com