Sunday, February 22, 2009
Lodwick wins Nordic combined gold
LIBEREC, Czech Republic -- Todd Lodwick of the United States won a Nordic combined event Sunday for his second straight gold at the Nordic skiing world championships.
He pulled away from Jan Schmid of Norway in the final uphill portion of the course and came into the ski stadium alone, raising his arms to celebrate in the final stretch. Lodwick finished in 24 minutes, 22.3 seconds, with Schmid 13 seconds behind and American Bill Demong in third.
After failing to win a medal in six previous worlds and four Olympic games, Lodwick earned two golds in three days after taking the mass-start event Friday.
"The first one was awesome, the second is a bonus," he said. "I've worked really, really hard for this, it's just absolutely unbelievable."
The United States had never won more than one medal at the same Nordic worlds, but leads the medals table with three golds and a bronze so far. Lindsey Van became the first women's ski jumping world champion on Friday.
"Obviously, we've built a good program over the years," team director John Farra said. "And we do it with very little money and no real Nordic culture."
Lodwick and Schmid formed a two-man group for the last 4 miles of the 10K freestyle race. Lodwick started with a 2-second advantage after leading the ski jump.
The 32-year-old Lodwick came out of retirement last year to aim for a world championship or Olympic title.
"I have to give credit to my wax team, they worked really hard and I think I had some of the best skis," Lodwick said. "I was very tired on the final hill, but that's what it takes to win the gold."
Demong was only 12th after the ski jump, but quickly narrowed the gap to add another medal to his silver from 2007 in Sapporo, Japan.
"Today was probably the best race I've had this year," Demong said. "Tom and I both were focused on trying to get both of us on the podium, and it worked."