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U.S. Ski Team Update: Nordic Combined Legacy Established

Bryan Fletcher

With a four-medal performance at the Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver, including a team silver, the U.S. Nordic Combined Ski Team established a significant legacy. 

 

In the two intervening years, the sport has changed immensely with a dramatic uptick in cross country speed and significant depth of new challengers. Billy Demong's podium a few weeks ago was a welcome sign that the veteran was still in contention. While it wasn't a podium, last weekend's fourth from Bryan Fletcher of Steamboat Springs offered a glimpse of the future.

 

Fletcher's fourth career top-10 (third this season) is a true testament to his work ethic. Both Bryan and brother Taylor have learned from and complement Olympic medalists Demong and Johnny Spillane. While Demong, Spillane and Todd Lodwick grew with the sport over a 15-year period, Bryan Fletcher is looking for a faster path. Right behind him is Taylor who, in the same race, collected his fifth straight points scoring finishes in a season that has been marked by repeated personal bests.

 

Bryan's fourth came on the heels of a career-best sixth in jumping, allowing him to take some time buffer into cross country. But as nice as fourth seemed in Liberec last Sunday, Bryan wants more. His personal goals sheet has him down for a podium this season. With time running short – just World Cups in Lahti and Oslo remaining – still don't be surprised if you find Bryan Fletcher on a FIS Nordic Combined World Cup podium this month.

 

Alpine: Lindsey Vonn won a record 18th super G to pass Austrian Renate Goetschl in the women's World Cup history, while all six U.S. speed women qualified for the top 25 World Cup Finals in downhill. Ted Ligety finished ninth in a World Cup giant slalom to slip 132 points behind Marcel Hirscher in a chase for his fourth discipline title. After further evaluation of an injured left knee, Bode Miller will miss the remainder of the season while recovering from minor surgery. Racing this week features a women's tech series in Ofterschwang, Germany, men's speed in Kvitfjell, Norway and the Junior World Championships in Roccaraso, Italy. 

 

Cross Country: Tad Elliott and Holly Brooks swept titles in the 39th running of the American Birkebeiner in Wisconsin. Noah Hoffman became the fourth American in history to medal at U23 Worlds with silver. World Cup resumes this week in Lahti.

 

Freeskiing: John Teller clinched second at the Audi FIS World Cup in Bishofswiesen for the third podium of his career. Next up: Halfpipe and slopestyle athletes look to the final stop of the Sprint U.S. Grand Prix at Mammoth Mountain; tune in to finals live. 

 

Freestyle: Aerialist Dylan Ferguson finished seventh in this weekend's World Cup in Minsk. Moguls/dual moguls head to Are, Sweden Mar. 9-10, with aerials Mar. 10 in Moscow.

 

Ski Jumping: Sarah Hendrickson won silver at Nordic Junior Worlds in Turkey. The Park City teen can clinch the World Cup title this weekend with three events in Zao, Japan.

 

Snowboarding: Jonathan Cheever took third at the World Cup in Stoneham, his first podium of this season. Halfpipe and slopestyle athletes head to Mammoth Mountain this week for the final Sprint U.S. Grand Prix, for scheduling. Watch finals live

 

USSA Team Shops: Followers and fans of the U.S. Ski Team, U.S. Snowboarding and U.S. Freeskiing can get the latest in fan gear from the Teams' new online shop. Launched as a part of the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association's new USSA Digital Network, the online shop features exclusive offers on gear from brand partners and official suppliers including Spyder, Neve Designs, Huge Sportswear, SmartWool, High Sierra and other major brands. Support the athletes by using your Visa card for all official team gear. Visa. Proud sponsor of the U.S. Ski Team, U.S. Snowboarding and U.S. Freeskiing. More people go with Visa.

 

TV Tune-In: 

 

3/10 Sprint U.S. Snowboarding Grand Prix—Halfpipe, Mammoth Mountain, CA, 12 p.m. ET, NBC

3/10 Visa U.S. Freeskiing Grand Prix—Halfpipe, Mammoth Mountain, CA, 1 p.m. ET, NBC

3/18 Sprint U.S. Snowboarding Grand Prix—Halfpipe, Mammoth Mountain, CA, 2 p.m. ET, Versus

3/18 Paul Mitchell Progression Session—Mammoth Mountain, CA, 3 p.m. ET, NBC Sports Network

3/31 Visa U.S. Freeskiing Grand Prix—Halfpipe, Mammoth Mountain, CA, 3 p.m. ET, NBC Sports Network

 

Photo: Bryan Fletcher (USSST)

 

 

 

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