Time to say good-bye: Nordic Combined retirements
Despite the fact that an Olympic period just came to an end, the number of athletes retiring from Nordic Combined has stayed to a minimum. Todd Lodwick (USA) and Mitja Oranic (SLO) are the two notable athletes to announce their retirements.
Todd Lodwick, who ended his great career immediately after the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games, had a total of 175 World Cup starts after beginning his career in Schonach (GER) in January 1995. The 37-year-old earned his first Word Cup podium in Steamboat Springs (USA) the same year and amassed six World Cup victories and 28 podiums during his long career. His biggest achievements include Olympic team silver in Vancouver 2010 (CAN) and two World Championship titles from Liberec 2009 (CZE). In recognition of his outstanding career, the six-time Olympian was chosen as the U.S. Flag Bearer by a vote of fellow team members to lead the 2014 U.S. Olympic Team into the Opening Ceremony.
Meanwhile, Mitja Oranic will also retire. The 28-year-old is ending his career after five years on the Nordic Combined World Cup circuit and twelve years after starting in 2002 at the junior level. During his World Cup career, his best results were a fourth-place finish in the team competition and 10th place in the individual Gundersen. Oranic competed at two editions of the Olympic Winter Games and at four FIS World Championships.
The changes on the coaching side have also been limited to a few.
Norway is the only one of the major nations with a significant change in the coaching staff. Kristian Hammer left the team to spend more time with his family. The coaching duties will now be split between new Head Coach Bjoern Kaare Ingebrigtsen and Sport Director Sverre Rotevatn, who will move into a more active position with the national team. Austria‘s Nik Huber will continue as jumping coach.
In the Czech Republic, former athlete Ladislav Rygl has been named the new Head Coach of the Czech Nordic Combined team and will follow in the footsteps of Ludek Sablatura, who led the team from 1990 - 2002 and from 2007 until now.
In the Swiss "one man team" of newly-minted World Cup winner Tim Hug, Head Coach Steffen Tepel quit in order to finish his studies and will be replaced by Assistant Coach Konstantin Kreiselmeyer.