Fletcher Leads USA in Sochi Combined
ESTO-SADOK, Russia (Feb. 18) – A tough day on the large hill jump Tuesday had Team USA chasing the pack during the cross country portion of the individual Gundersen 10k event at the 2014 Sochi Olympic Winter Games. Taylor Fletcher (Steamboat Springs, CO) skied into the top spot for the USA in 20th, while Joergen Graabak and Magnus Hovdal Moan of Norway dominated the day with gold and silver. Broadcast coverage of the event is set to air on NBC at 3:00 p.m. EST, while both jumping and cross country portions of the event can be streamed on NBCOlympics.com. The athletes take on the final nordic combined event of the 2014 Games, the team Gundersen 4x5k, on Thursday Feb. 20.
- A tough day on the large hill jump Tuesday had Team USA chasing the pack during the cross country portion of the individual Gundersen 10k event at the 2014 Sochi Olympic Winter Games.
- Taylor Fletcher (Steamboat Springs, CO) skied into the top spot for the USA in 20th after jumping into 35th and putting down the day’s sixth-fastest time in the 10k.
- His older brother Bryan Fletcher (Steamboat Springs, CO) jumped into 27th on the large hill and then moved up five spots in the race to finish 22nd.
- The event’s 2010 gold medalist, Billy Demong (Vermontville, NY), finished 31st after jumping 38th.
- Joergen Graabak and Magnus Moan of Norway dominated the day with gold and silver, while German Fabian Riessle took bronze.
- Six-time Olympian Todd Lodwick (Steamboat Springs, CO) jumped into 30th, but did not ski the cross country portion in order to be ready for the team event.
- Broadcast coverage of Tuesday’s event is set to air on NBC at 3:00 p.m. EST, while both jumping and cross country portions of the event can be streamed on NBCOlympics.com.
- The athletes take on the team Gundersen 4x5k event, the final nordic combined event of the 2014 Games, on Thursday Feb. 20, when Lodwick will lead the boys toward a second Olympic medal after taking silver in Vancouver in 2010.
I was happy with today. Things obviously haven’t been going too great. I’ve had a super up and down year and couldn’t be consistent. I ended up having a strong jump, a jump I was happy with. I had the worst wind on the hill. So to have that jump in those conditions, I can’t be disappointed. There’s no room for that and I came out and had a good race.
I was happy with the race. I picked up the tempo on each lap and felt really good. It’s a good step forward for the team event. Bill showed that he’s there. He had a fantastic trial round jump and he’s just got to figure out what he’s doing, maybe he’s putting a little too much pressure on himself. Todd showed today that he can still jump. He hasn’t taken that many jumps, so each jump he takes he’s going to get better and better. And Bryan showed that he’s consistent even though he didn’t have a great jump today. He was still right in there and skiing fast. I’m looking forward to the team event. I think we have a strong team. We may not be showing it on the results in the individual comps, but a little spirit comes into these team comps and everyone pulls out something a little bit extra. I think it’s going to be special when we come to this and we’ll let it happen.
The snow was good. It was pretty fast and held up pretty well. It was definitely tough racing. There was a high pace right from the get-go and so it made it really hard to catch a break out there because we were always working. It was difficult but it was good. It’s pretty easy to go out and get a minute quickly, but in the last two laps this course just accumulates so you can’t really sacrifice any time. But going out hard seems to be working. We’ll take the good things from today and focus on those and then come out here on Thursday just knowing it’s going to go well and hopefully it will.
I swear I woke up feeling like today was the day, and right up until I landed that first comp jump, I didn’t see anything coming. I just feel great. It’s kind of devastating really. It was my shortest jump in the last few days by 10 meters. Nothing felt that bad, nothing looked that bad, and the coaches were not super sure what happened. That’s the problem, I think I’m old enough and wise enough to be able to have expectations and follow through on them. Then a day like today happens and kind of throws you for a loop. I swear I felt the same tingle today that I felt in Vancouver, so I need to go figure out what did go wrong today.
We’re sticking to the plan. We came into these Olympics knowing that getting back on my skis, getting back in shape and knowing that I can jump and having the confidence to do that–that’s the biggest thing that we’ve been trying to accomplish since we’ve been here. Now these leaps and hurdles that we are continuing to gain every single day just builds more confidence in the team event, which was the reason we came here in the first place. I’m having a ball. I’m having so much fun. I’m in a really good place and taking in the Olympic spirit is something that is very rare for a lot of people, especially as an athlete. I’m just trying to live every moment of it.