As a Nordic combined specialist, Todd Lodwick may not compete in the sexiest winter sport, but the six-time Olympian has earned the respect of his teammates, who per a Feb. 5 report, selected him to carry the U.S. flag at the opening ceremonies of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia on Feb. 7.
Prior to becoming the first American to ever earn a sixth Winter Olympic team nod, Lodwick, now 37, competed in five consecutive Games, beginning in 1994 in Lillehammer, Norway. He has a single Olympic medal to his name, a silver that he and fellow athletes Brett Camerota, Johnny Spillane, and Bill Demong earned in the team event at the 2010 Vancouver Games.
Lodwick's experience bested the appeal of several more well-recognized athletes who were also up for the honor, including two-time halfpipe gold medalist Shaun White, who reportedly withdrew from the Sochi slopestyle event on Feb. 5 amid controversy surrounding the safety of the course; World, U.S. and Grand Prix Final champion ice dancers Meryl Davis and Charlie White; and Iraq war veteran and bobsledder Chris Fogt.
Others in contention were skeleton athlete Noelle Pikus-Pace, long track speed skater Shani Davis, ski jumper Lindsey Van, hockey player Julie Chu, alpine skier Bode Miller, bobsledder Steve Holcomb, cross country skier Kikkan Randall and curler Erika Brown.
Opening ceremonies for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi are set for Feb. 7.