Another underexposed sport that will receive some rare attention in Vancouver is the Nordic combined, thanks in large part to Lodwick, 33, who is entering his fifth Olympic Games. Nordic combined mixes ski jumping and cross-country skiing: athletes fly off a ramp in the morning, then ski 10 km in the afternoon, with their starting positions in the race determined by their jumping performances. Whoever crosses the finish first wins. No American has ever medaled in the event, but Lodwick came out of retirement in 2008 to win two golds at the '09 World Championships. He's a clear medal favorite; two American teammates, Johnny Spillane and Bill Demong, also pose a threat to Scandinavian sovereignty in the sport. "You're going to see a team of Nordic-combined skiers from the U.S.," says Lodwick, "really prove something in Vancouver."
Next Evgeni Plushenko