Bryan Fletcher has a vested interested in his sport — and that’s an understatement. At 27, the U.S. Nordic Combined athlete was recently selected to the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association (USSA) Board of Directors as the Jumping/Nordic Combined Athlete Representative. Former U.S. Nordic Combined skier Willy Graves, who retired four years ago, previously held the position.
“I was mostly interested in just trying to develop myself as a more well rounded athlete,” Fletcher explained in an email. “I felt this would be a great opportunity to learn a new part of the sport.”
He was one of seven new representatives named to the board on May 18, the final day of USSA’s Spring Congress. The association’s current board consists of 20 members, including chairman Dexter Paine, vice chairman Greg Boester, and treasurer John Bucksbaum, plus four ex-officio members. Fletcher wrote that 20 percent of the board must be made up of athletes. It meets that requirement with five, including Fletcher and two other new athlete representatives — Tricia Byrnes (snowboarding) and Emily Cook (freestyle) — as well as James Southam (cross country) and Charles Christianson (alpine).
“My role is to meet with the other athlete representatives and report on issues and concerns we see or our fellow athletes see with USSA or their governing decisions,” Fletcher wrote. “This season’s congress was my first opportunity to sit in on the meetings for USSA, I gained a lot of knowledge [that] week and played a lot of catch up on the most pressing issues however moving forward I think this is a huge opportunity for me, the organization is going through a lot of changes right now and it’s very important for the athletes to have a voice at the highest level.”
In terms of his sport, which USSA will cease to fund after July 31, Fletcher wrote that nordic combined is “moving forward with our organizational structure day by day,” and that overall there were a lot of positives that came out of Spring Congress.
“The organization is going through a lot of changes right now and it’s very important for the athletes to have a voice at the highest level.” — Bryan Fletcher, USSA Jumping/Nordic Combined Athlete Representative
“Our sport’s meetings progressed smoothly and a lot of information was exchanged,” he wrote. “I am excited to take a more active role in the development of Nordic Combined as well as the development of USSA.
“For me the biggest thing that came out of congress was just knowledge of the positive development in our sport,” he continued. “USASJ [USA Ski Jumping] has done an amazing job implementing new outreach projects and development programs. NoCo is looking to help their progress in anyway possible while at the same time helping our own progress. Things at this point are looking like next season will be lean financially but we will have a strong team. The guys have been working hard, the athletes are motivated so the team will move forward one step at a time.”
USA Ski Jumping, which supports the development of both male and female jumpers in the U.S., has operated on its own budget — separate from USSA — for the last seven years. Yet USSA remains its national governing body (NGB), as it is for Women’s Ski Jumping USA and Nordic Combined, the latter of which was most recently informed it would no longer receive direct funding from the NGB.
Fletcher expects to sit in on one to two USSA meetings a year as well as some potential phone calls. He did not elaborate on Nordic Combined’s working relationship with USASJ.
Alex Kochon (firstname.lastname@example.org) is the former managing editor at FasterSkier. She spent seven years with FS from 2011-2018, and has been writing, editing, and skiing ever since. She's making a cameo in 2020.