Independence Day on July 4th is a big thing in the USA. In Steamboat Spring, the base of the U.S. Nordic Combined team, the celebrations have big Nordic flavour. Bryan Fletcher and Ben Berend both had successful moments during the big Nordic celebration.
Kicking of the “Jumping and Jammin" event were 1 and 3 km sprint races on Steamboat Springs’s main street, right before the big 4th of July parade. The starting order for the sprints had been determined by a jumping competition on the previous day and Jasper Good claimed the pole position with a narrow margin of 3 seconds on team leader Bryan Fletcher. Adam Loomis followed eight seconds behind.
In the end, Fletcher prevailed and beat Adam Loomis by 2 seconds. Jasper Good reached the finish 18 seconds later, Taylor Fletcher roller skied to the fourth place. "I skied a really tactically smart race," Fletcher said. "I went out with the intent to push the space and also have some time to recover so I could contend for the final sprint. I skied it well, and when I got to the last corner, I knew it was all out from there. I was able to break away and take the victory”, Fletcher is quoted in Steamboat Today.
Later that day, the 4th of July Ski Jumping Extravaganza became Ben Berend’s big moment. Only having finished fifth in the sprint competition, Berend claimed the top spot on the podium in an elimination type of jumping competition had him pitted against teammate Jasper Good. Good, going after the winner jackpot of over $ 800, had a fantastic jump in great wind conditions but was not able to land his jump from Steamboat’s HS 75. The second and third spots on the podium were claimed by youngster Niklas Malacinski and Annika Belshaw.
Earlier in the week, the team held their annual Fish Creek Time Trial. Congrats to Taylor Fletcher, who posted the fastest time to the top with a new course record for the fourth year in a row!