Lodwick is US flagbearer; Other news and views from Sochi 2014
While it is pounding snow in much of New York State, it pounded sun here in Sochi for the second straight day.
In the mountain cluster of venues, temps topped out around 40 today, but when the sun sets, the chill sets in, and the parkas come out.
Some news from the run-up to Friday's Opening Ceremony, as it was announced this evening that Nordic combined skier Todd Lodwick, in his sixth and final Olympics, will carry the U.S. flag on Friday night in Sochi. Lodwick is friend and teammate of Vermontville's Bill Demong.
“Being nominated to carry the flag at the Opening Ceremony is one of the greatest honors that has ever been bestowed upon me,” said Lodwick. “I couldn't be more humbled and excited to be selected among all of the great athletes who were vying for this representation. Going into my sixth Olympic Games, it feels like I have already won a medal, and to cap off my career by representing the United States of America and Team USA is truly a privilege.”
Lodwick collected a silver medal in Vancouver four years ago, and stepped onto the podium last winter by scoring a bronze medal in the team competition at the World Nordic Championships.
Other news saw Shaun White announce that he will only compete in the snowboard halfpipe where he is the two-time and defending Olympic champion.
White has parlayed his Torino and Vancouver successes, as well as his X Games titles, into a worldwide brand in the edgier snow sports. He was going to compete in the new slopestyle event, but injured his wrist this week and called the course "treacherous." Today, White said nyet to the inaugural competition.
Meanwhile the wildly popular Jamaican bobsled team, lead by Winston Watts of Cool Runnings fame, qualified for Sochi but had no funding to get to the Games. Desperately in need of $80,000 to get here, they raised $120,000 in two days.
They should have chartered a plane with the excess cash because when they arrived this week at the Sochi International Airport, the sled runners (steel blades) and other necessary equipment did not arrive with them.
Watts held court with reporters Wednesday afternoon telling them, "It's really frustrating. There's no such word to describe how I feel being here. The atmosphere, the fans, the friends, the media, it's pretty exciting."
Now Watts and brakeman Marvin Dixon hope the gear arrives in time for Thursday's training session, or they will rely on the brotherhood of the bobsled community to loan them equipment so they can take to the ice.
Prior to Sochi, Jamaica participated in the Winter Games from 1988 to 2002, with a top effort of 14th place in Lillehammer.
American pilots Steve Holcomb, Nick Cunningham and Cory Butner took to a fast track in Krasnaya Polyana today as bobsled training got underway.
Coming up Thursday, American Hannah Kearney begins defense of her Olympic moguls crown as qualification takes place in that event. The finals are set for Saturday.
Kearney, of Norwich, Vt., has spent her summers in Lake Placid over the years training at the jump complex in preparation for the World Cup season and the Olympics.
Thanks for checking in, and we hope you'll return for more.
Sarah Brunson/U.S. Ski Team photo