COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — The last time the United States won a medal in the sport of Nordic Combined was in 2010. If the U.S. is going to do it again in 2022, they will likely be led by three-time Olympian Taylor Fletcher.
“Going to your first Olympics is a dream come true. It’s something you’ve worked your whole career for that point,” said Fletcher. “Every chance after that, you’re looking to do a little bit better. Looking for that opportunity to come away with some hardware.”
Fletcher has had quite the career. He was on Team USA in 2010 when his teammates won 4 medals in Vancouver. Those remain the only medals won in Nordic Combined by Americans. Now at 31, Fletcher is
striving for his fourth Olympic games.
“I still have a lot left in me and I’m excited to give every aspect of it. Because I am approaching the end of my career and I want to be able to leave with the feeling that I gave everything possible,”
To make it to Beijing though, Fletcher is going to have to hold off a youth movement that is currently happening. He’s the oldest member of the U.S. national team by six years, and three members of
his team are 21 or younger.
“But I want their energy. Their passion is pushing me to be better on a daily basis. That fire, that passion, that drive in competition makes you a better athlete time in and time out. They want to get rid of me and I want to keep putting them down in their place and challenge them,” said Fletcher.
The team recently finished a training camp in Lake Placid, New York, taking part in both ski jumping and cross-country skiing. Those two disciplines that make up Nordic Combined. It’s all in preparations for
this month’s Olympic Trials, and the long-term goal of making big strides and leaps in Beijing.
“No one is ever going to see us as favorites. U.S. and Nordic Combined don’t go together in that aspect. But we’re always a challenger. They know when we have good jumps, we’re in the fight for medals,”
Fletcher and the rest of Team USA will gather again in Lake Placid for the Olympic Trials on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Only the winner is guaranteed a spot in Beijing, with the rest of the team
being named in January.