On a weekend when weather made it bad to be a ski
jumper, at least it was really good to be an American
at the International Ski Federation (FIS) Nordic
Combined Continental Cup season-opener.
With a weekend full of wild weather, the American
Continental Cup ski-jumping team managed to make
the best of a bad situation, with Todd Lodwick winning
the competition on both days, despite canceled and
Parkite Brett Camerota also had a successful weekend,
taking second on both Saturday and Sunday.
On Saturday, after blizzard-like conditions cancelled
Saturday morning's ski jumping competition at the
Utah Olympic Park, the men were forced to count
provisional ski jumps taken during team training.
However, an afternoon cross-country race was still
held, with the snow subsiding just long enough for
the men to compete on the 1.3K Soldier Hollow course.
Lodwick went out fourth, 18 seconds behind Robert
Hauser of Austria, who had the best jump. Lodwick
had the lead at the end of the first 1.3K lap and
controlled the pace the rest of the way, allowing
Camerota and Taylor to make their way to the front.
Camerota moved up to second from his start in ninth,
with Taylor making the big jump from 18th to third.
Lodwick easily claimed the victory, followed by
Brett Camerota and U.S. Ski teamer Bryan Fletcher.
Defending series champion Marco Pichlmayer of Austria
On Sunday, the snow had subsided, but wind forced
FIS officials to restart the competition after 14
competitors had already jumped. This time, Lodwick's
jump came up a bit short at only 87 meters and put
him behind Austrians Pichlmayer and Dominik Dier
in the cross-country event by a minute and 30 seconds,
respectively. Luckily, the Americans are known for
dominance in the cross-country portion of the event
and Lodwick had made up the difference by his second
trip around the course. Camerota and teammates Fletcher
and Alex Miller battled it out with Pichlmayer behind
him. Pichlmayer took third, Fletcher was fifth and
Miller was sixth.
"Four in the top six: not a bad day,"
said U.S. Ski Team head 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."
"Today was a cross-country race for me,"
Lodwick said in the finish. "Yesterday was
a warm-up .Today I had to earn it."
Lodwick, a highly-successful four-time Winter Olympian,
returned to the sport this year after taking two
years off to focus on his family. But he looks poised
to storm his way back into the Nordic combined picture.
He seemed pleased with the weekend's results and
was even happier to be competing in the U.S. with
his family, including children Charley and Finn,
on hand to watch him.
"This is my first international competition
back. Park City is great," Lodwick said. "It's
the home of the Ski Team and the support is here.
I know the place and it's kind of like a second
home. The family is here and that's a good thing."
Camerota, whose twin, Eric, is a Nordic combiner
on the World Cup tour, said that despite the crazy
conditions of the weekend, he and the other Americans
did their best to stay focused and jump well despite
the all the changes.
"You have to stay focused and not let it get
to you," said Camerota. "For sure, Todd,
Fletcher and I have been jumping well this week
and we're skiing fast. It's a great start for all."
"That's a jumping competition," said Lodwick
after Sunday's jumping portion. "Everyone has
to be prepared for their best."
The men will spend the week in Canada competing
at the 2010 Olympic venue in Whistler, B.C.