Bryan Fletcher leapt into contention in the large hill/10 k individual at 2015 World Championships with the 13th-best jump to start the race within 44 seconds of first. In the fight for third until the last few hundred meters, he placed fifth for U.S. Nordic Combined’s best individual result at World Championships since 2009.
Rydzek Realizes Every Child’s Dream as Nordic Combined World Champ; Taylor Fletcher Leads U.S. in 19th
In the first nordic-combined competition of World Championships, Germany’s Johannes Rydzek had some of the best timing all day, attacking late to drop his lone rival before the finish: Italy’s Alessandro Pittin. The U.S. saw top-20 jumps from Billy Demong and Ben Berend, and Taylor Fletcher skied up from 25th to 19th.
Park City hosted the first Nordic Combined Continental Cup of the season last week with jumping at Utah Olympic Park and the 10 k races at the Gorgoza tubing hill, moved there because of a lack of snow. Taylor Fletcher posted the two best U.S. performances in fifth and eighth place, followed by Billy Demong.
Back in April, July 31 seemed like dark cloud looming in the distance. But it wasn’t that far off, and fortunately for U.S. Nordic Combined, it wasn’t all that dreary. “Things are moving forward for sure, and it’s a little bit more hopeful than in April,” head coach Dave Jarrett says, explaining that he kept his job and hopes to have two other coaches and two wax techs help him this season.
U.S. Nordic Combined’s Bryan Fletcher was recently one of three new athlete representatives selected to the USSA Board of Directors. “For me the biggest thing that came out of congress was just knowledge of the positive development in our sport,” he explains, adding that his sport’s organizational structure is progressing forward each day.
U.S. Biathlon CEO Max Cobb says that it took four or five years for his organization to get on its feet after splitting from modern pentathlon in 1980 — but that whatever route U.S. Nordic Combined takes, the good news for them is that they have proven success and that direct fundraising tools have entered a whole new realm in the past few years.