U.S. Nordic Combined Team announced
Olympians Bryan and Taylor Fletcher (Steamboat Springs, Colorado) were named to the 2016 U.S. Nordic Combined Ski Team. They will open the 2015-16 season this weekend with the kickoff to the International Ski Federation’s Nordic Combined World Cup tour in Ruka, Finland.
The brothers are coming off good seasons but both are also looking to improve on jumping. The 2015 season was a breakthrough for Taylor, who landed his first podium (second in Sapporo). Bryan was fifth at World Championships and scored six individual top 10s. Both said they know that jumping is holding them back — especially Taylor, who is consistently one of the fastest in the world in the cross-country phase of Nordic combined.
"My biggest goal (this summer) was to make some headway with the jumping," said Taylor. "This spring we took a different approach with jumping and it has seemed to work. Of course with every sport you have good and bad days. To come away from the day’s competition and feel that I had a good result on both aspects of our sport will be important."
Bryan said his focus, too, was on jumping.
"Summer has been a building period for me," added brother Bryan. "Knowing that the cross-country side is pretty much where it needs to be, the focus was very much on jumping this year. I needed to start over with new feelings and new ideas to hopefully build a solid base again and reach a higher level in competition performance."
Head Coach Dave Jarrett said their progress is noticeable.
"Bryan has been working hard on jumping," Jarrett said. "He is in good shape and will be fighting for high places. Taylor’s jumping has improved significantly and now he needs to perform well in each and every qualification and comp on the hill to the best of his ability and potential. We all know he is one the fastest cross-country guys on the circuit so the closer he starts to front the easier it will be for good results."
In addition to the Fletcher brothers, who have qualified for national team selection criteria, four other athletes will be competing on the World Cup tour. They include Ben Berend (Steamboat Springs), Jasper Good (Steamboat Springs), Adam Loomis (Eau Claire, Wisconsin) and Michael Ward (Aspen, Colorado).
The U.S. Ski Team will enter four skiers into the opening World Cups including Bryan and Taylor Fletcher, Loomis and Good. They will compete Thanksgiving weekend in Ruka, then head to Lillehammer, Norway. It will be the first World Cup for Good, who was on the 2015 Junior Worlds Team and had a strong season on the Continental Cup. Loomis will be returning to the World Cup, where he had three points-scoring finishes a year ago and made the World Championship team.
The World Cup then takes a timely one-week break as the FIS Continental Cup tour opens with three events at the Utah Olympic Park and Soldier Hollow Dec. 11-13. Early season snow and cold has blanketed the region, with great conditions anticipated for the start of the Continental Cup season.
The U.S. Nordic Combined Ski Team is supported by the U.S. Ski Team in partnership with USA Nordic.
U.S. Nordic Combined Team
Other World Cup Athletes
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