PARK CITY, Utah (April 15) – Injuries and sickness beset all three U.S. nordic teams during the 2005 World Cup season, but three-time Olympic nordic combined skier Todd Lodwick (Steamboat Springs, CO) extended his record to eight consecutive years of being in the top eight in his sport's final standings, and cross country sprinter Andy Newell (Shaftsbury, VT) turned in the best sprint showing in history by an American.
But injuries and sickness short-circuited what had been expected to be an outstanding season of medal contention at the 2005 World Championships in Oberstdorf, Germany.
Kris Freeman (Andover, NH) and Carl Swenson (Park City, UT), the leading cross country skiers, were sideswiped in December and January by energy-sapping viral problems, which all but stopped them in their tracks. Freeman recovered in mid-February and went on to post an outstanding leadoff leg in the 4x10K relay at Worlds plus a 15th place in World Cup race. Swenson never got untracked.
Lodwick had four podiums and Johnny Spillane (also Steamboat) skied to a top-3 before a back problem, which flared up at Worlds, prevented him from defending his nordic combined sprint title and sidelined him for the last month of the season. Bill Demong (Vermontville, NY) made major progress, including two wins on World Cup-B and then his first World Cup top-10 in three years, in returning to the World Cup from a fractured skull in the summer of 2002.
Clint Jones (Steamboat Springs, CO) had three top-30s in ski jumping, but Alan Alborn (Anchorage, AK) injured a knee free-skiing on a day off and missed the last half of the season, including Worlds.
“There were frustrations, for sure,” said U.S. Nordic Director Luke Bodensteiner, “but we definitely had some bright spots, too. We've got a good idea where we can adjust and nobody's beaten down by this season. We know we've got the raw talent and we have a good idea of where to adjust to take that small level of improvement and get us into the medals.”
Source: US Ski Team