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Soaring Fortunes

Outside magazine, March 1996

Soaring Fortunes
By Todd Balf and Paul Kvinta (with Brian Alexander and Steve Law)

Things are suddenly looking up for America's long-woeful nordic skiing teams. Last December, Todd Lodwick won an early-season World Cup event in the nordic combined--which features both a 15-kilometer cross-country ski race and an 88-meter ski jump--on his home turf, becoming the first American ever to post an outright victory on the international circuit. The win made the 19-year-old Steamboat Springs, Colorado, native an instant folk hero but also left him with a case of Rodney Dangerfielditis. "Sure, there was a little story in the Denver Post," says his mom, Jeanne. "But what was on the front page? Tommy Moe taking 32d in the downhill." Just six days later, Randy Weber, at age 18 the senior member of the beleaguered U.S. Ski Jumping Team profiled last month in Outside ("Who Says They're Losers?"), placed sixth in the 90-meter competition at Predazzo, Italy, the best World Cup finish for an American in four years.

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