Taylor Fletcher podiums in Japan | ParkRecord.com

Taylor Fletcher podiums in Japan

USSA News Bureau,

SAPPORO, Japan — Brothers Taylor and Bryan Fletcher (Steamboat Springs, Colorado) worked together to move up in a FIS Nordic Combined World Cup in Sapporo Saturday, with Taylor finishing on the podium in dramatic fashion. Taylor was third, Bryan eighth, as the U.S. picked up its first World Cup podium since Taylor was third in Seefeld two years ago. Germany’s Eric Frenzel continued to run up his win streak with his fifth straight with a 1.8-second margin over Japan’s Akito Watabe. Fletcher finished 3.5 seconds out.

"It was a great day, for sure!" said Taylor. "I was pretty bummed out after yesterday as I knew I was capable of much better. I have known that my good jumps are good enough to put me in a position to fight for the top three. I went out with a clear mind and knew what I needed to do on the ski jump to make it happen."

Taylor soared 123.0 meters on his jump, putting him 28th — one spot behind brother Bryan, with both starting over two minutes behind the leaders.

The two worked together quickly to move up, cutting nearly a minute off the gap in the first of four 2.5-kilometer laps.

"I knew that I wasn’t going to be as close to the front of the race as I wanted," said Fletcher. "But I also knew that the leaders aren’t the fastest and that it would only be (Eric) Frenzel in the lead after a few laps."

Heading into the third lap, Taylor had the leaders in sight.

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"When I came around on the third lap, I was very surprised to see the leaders so close to me and knew if I put in some great efforts I could bridge the gap."

Taylor surged forward and took over the lead on the fourth lap, but eventually succumbed to Frenzel and Watabe to take third. Taylor posted the fastest cross-country time, with brother Bryan second fastest and a big gap to the rest of the field.

"Today was even more special as Bryan was eighth again and proving that he is one of the top skiers on the circuit!" said Taylor.

"I skied smart today, conserved energy and was able to continue climbing on the fourth lap to finish inside the top-10 in eighth but fighting for fifth," said Bryan. "Overall I am very happy to have both Taylor and I in the top 10."