Young & Wild: Taylor Fletcher (USA)
They are young, they are wild, they are successful and they are a force to be reckoned with for the future of Nordic Combined. In a new weekly series called "Young & Wild", fisnc.com will cast a closer (and fun-filled!) look on a number of young Nordic Combined athletes who are really stepping up their game on the way to become greats of their sport. When the series is finished, you'll be able to vote on the most promising talent on facebook! So stay tuned for "Young & Wild"!
In the first edition, "Young & Wild" will actually have a look at the oldest athlete of the chosen ones first! In comparison to his teammates, though, Taylor Fletcher is definitely the rookie in Team USA. Having had the chance to grow as an athlete among Olympic medallists and World Champions Johnny Spillane, Bill Demong, Todd Lodwick and also next to older brother Bryan Fletcher, Taylor really came into his own in the last winter, earning him an FIS "Athlete of the Week" nomination and the honour of being named FasterSkier's Nordic Combined Athlete of the Year.
In regards to the process of growing as an athlete, the most important person in Taylor's life is older brother Bryan. "We have a very unique relationship. We are both driven athletes and at times can be the best of friends but in competition we are individual athletes. Bryan has been my motivation to keep involved in the sport and he has also helped me through my difficult obstacles in sports", he writes on his website.
The 22-year-old's ticket into the sport probably came with his dad who has been a ski patroller for over 27 years and taught young Taylor to ski by the time he could walk. And apparently he taught him well as in the course of the last winter, Taylor turned into one of the fastest skiers on the track, teaching cross-country experts like Magnus Moan, Mikko Kokslien and Björn Kircheisen to always keep an eye out for the American.
Even for a time without the sport, Taylor who is taking online classes from Colorado Mountain College to also move forward with his education wile pursuing a skiing career, has made plans: "When I am finished with my skiing career I plan on attending college full time and pursuing a career in Sports medicine/ training." But in a shape like last season, we probably haven't see the last of Taylor in the Nordic Combined World Cup for some time to come!
6 questions with Taylor Fletcher
Favourite competition/venue and why?
I personally would feel that Oslo, Norway is my favorite competition venue due to the atmosphere of the venues. I love competing in front of large crowds and especially racing with loud fans. But this winter, I have gained another favorite: Seefeld. I got my first podium there and that will always remain in my memories!
Something you've always wanted to say in an interview (…but were never allowed to)?
I have always wanted to throw my phone number out to see what would happen! (laughs) But mostly it would just be very funny movie quotes that may or may not be appropriate.
I couldn't live without ... (and Nordic Combined does NOT count as an answer here!)
First and foremost would be sleep, as I need it to function in the everyday life of Nordic Combined. Without it, I wouldn’t be the cross country skier I am today. A close second would be Pizza! There is no such thing as bad pizza! It's hard for me to stop eating it.
The mean question: ski jumping or cross-country skiing?
This really is a tough question for me! I am clearly better at one over the other, but could you guess which one I love more? I absolutely love to ski jump more than anything! It is one of the greatest feeling in the world, but it is also one of the most frustrating sports I will ever come upon. Cross country skiing is a close second as I feel very comfortable racing and knowing that it is very hard to mess up like jumping.
When I am not training for Nordic Combined, I like to ...
… do things that are not Nordic Combined! (laughs) On a more serious note, I like to go out with friends and have a drink, or go play golf or any other fun-tivity.
If you had to go to a deserted island, who would you take with you and why?
Creatively thinking, I would probably take Tom Hanks or Johnny Depp! They have had some pretty good movies where they have made it off the deserted island and back to the mainland in funny ways.
Taylor Fletcher Timeline
Born on the 11th of May, 1990
1994 – National debut
2005 – First FIS competition
2009 – First World Cup start in Chaux-Neuve, France
2010 – First Olympic Games start
2011 – First Continental Cup win, Soldier Hollow/Park City, USA
2011 – First World Championship start, Oslo, Norway
2013 – First World Cup podium, 3rd in Seefeld, Austria
The story so far…
47 World Cup starts (individual events)
1 Olympic Games start
2 World Championship team starts (1 bronze medal)
4 World Championship individual starts
8 Junior World Championship individual starts
4 Junior World Championship tean starts