By Tim HippsFebruary 7, 2014
SOCHI, Russia (Feb. 7, 2014) -- While U.S. Army World Class Athlete Program bobsledder Capt. Chris Fogt won a popular online poll, six-time Olympian Todd Lodwick of Steamboat Springs, Colo., will lead the 230-member Team USA into Fisht Olympic Stadium here as the U.S. flag bearer.
NBCUniversal's social-media solicitation of votes to determine who should carry the U.S. flag during tonight's Opening Ceremony for the 2014 Olympic Winter Games had no bearing on who actually will carry the Stars & Stripes.
Fogt received the largest percentage of votes on NBCOlympics.com, which staged the poll on social media.
U.S. Olympic Committee Head of Press Relations Mark Jones explained Friday that Team USA selects captains for each of the Olympic sports, and those captains nominate candidates and vote for who will be the flag bearer.
"It is not a popularity contest, per se," said Jones, who added that Fogt was not a nominee. "I have no idea, no [about the online poll]."
Army social media communities mounted a "Vote for Fogt" campaign and thought their Soldier might carry the U.S. flag.
Jones said the USOC's selection process is "something we're very proud of" because it allows the athletes to select their own flag bearer.
"Being nominated to carry the flag at the Opening Ceremony is one of the greatest honors that have ever been bestowed upon me," Lodwick said. "I couldn't be more humbled and excited to be selected among all of the great athletes who were vying for this representation. Going into my sixth Olympic Games, it feels like I have already won a medal, and to cap off my career by representing the United States of America and Team USA is truly a privilege."
Having made his Olympic debut in 1994, Lodwick is the first American to make six appearances at an Olympic Winter Games. After a brief retirement, he returned to claim two world championship titles in 2009, followed by his first Olympic medal at the Vancouver 2010 Games.
In 2013, Lodwick led the U.S. men's Nordic combined team to a bronze medal at the World Championships. He hopes to add to his overall medal haul in Sochi.
"I'd like to congratulate Todd on this tremendous honor," U.S. Olympic Committee CEO Scott Blackmun said. "Todd is such a deserving representative of our athletes and our nation. His commitment and dedication embody what it means to be an Olympian, and I look forward to watching him represent the U.S. delegation, both at the Opening Ceremony and on the field of play."
Lodwick is the second Nordic combined skier to serve as flag bearer for Team USA. Rolf Monsen also carried the flag in 1936.