When Nordic combined skier Todd Lodwick was selected on Wednesday to serve as the flag bearer for the U.S. Olympic athletes at Friday’s Opening Ceremony in Sochi, there were some special people he had to tell right away.
“I got in touch with my daughter Charlie,’’ Lodwick told Matt Lauer on TODAY Thursday. “She’s eight (years old), and she was ecstatic. I got my mom and dad on the phone and told them out loud on speaker phone. For them to hear that, they flipped out and went down to the school, and I got to talk to my daughter."
Lodwick's two children, ages eight and five, are back home in Colorado along with his parents as he gets ready to compete in Sochi.
“It was very much a personal moment for me and for sure my parents,'' he said. "They’ve been a supporter of mine for God knows how long, since the Olympic Games started for me in 1994, so to have this honor is awesome. It’s so many emotions coming out.”
Lodwick, 37, is the first six-time Winter Olympian from the U.S., and the first Nordic combined skier to serve as flag bearer. The position is bestowed on an athlete selected by a vote of the captains of each sport from the U.S. team.
"It’s such a great honor and to tell you the truth, I’m very humbled by it,'' Lodwick said. "There’s a lot of support behind me and where I’ve come from, and I can’t tell you how honorable this is. It’s a very deep honor that’s bestowed upon the athlete and I’ve got 280 athletes behind me that thought I was the best, and I have to thank them for that."
He joins a distinguished line of flag bearers that most recently includes fencer Mariel Zagunis at the Summer Olympics in London in 2012 and luger Mark Grimmette at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. Lodwick is one of the most successful Nordic combined skiers in U.S. history, winning a world championship in 2009 and picking up six World Cup victories. He also won a silver medal in Vancouver as part of the team competition.
"From Scott Hamilton to Bill Koch to Chris Witty, it’s a great honored list of people that I’m very privileged to be voted by my peers to be a part of,'' Lodwick said.
Lauer asked Lodwick if there is anything Lodwick wants him to say as he announces the U.S. delegation during the broadcast of Friday's ceremony.
"I wouldn’t have gotten to this point of my career without the support of my family, friends, for sure teammates, and sponsors along the way,'' Lodwick said. "Just tell them that I appreciate it, and I’m going to do my best while I’m here."