Whistler, British Columbia In a surprise move, the U.S. Olympic Ski Jumping Team, which only had three of the four members needed to make a team, grabbed Nordic combined skier Taylor Fletcher for Monday’s Special Jumping Team Event at Whistler Olympic Park in British Columbia.
The Steamboat Springs Nordic combined skier joined Peter Frenette, Nick Alexander and Anders Johnson on the jump hill, where the team finished 11th out of the 12 teams competing.
“It was awesome,” Fletcher said about competing with the special jumpers. “They needed somebody, and I knew I wasn’t going to start in the Nordic combined team event, so it worked out for everybody. It turned out to be a lot of fun.”
Fletcher said he jumped well in the trial round but fell short in the official round.
“I wish I could have gone a little bit further and helped those guys out, but it just didn’t happen.”
The strong Austrian team, Wolfgang Loitzl, Andreas Kofler, Thomas Morgenstern and Gregor Schlierenzauer, won the event with a total of 1,107.9 points. Germany was second at 1,035.8, and Norway finished third.
Frenette led the American effort with a leap of 124.5 meters. Alexander jumped 119 meters, and Johnson recorded a jump of 115.5 meters. Fletcher, who isn’t used to the slow in-run speeds of special jumping, finished with a jump of 88.5 meters.
However, the event gave the Steamboat Springs Nordic combined skier a chance to compete at the Olympics — something that might not happen on the Nordic combined side. Park City, Utah, skier Brett Camerota has been jumping well in training and is the likely candidate for today’s team and Thursday’s large hill Gundersen events. However, no decisions have been on the final roster for either competition.
The team event was the final special jumping competition at the 2010 Olympics. The team from the United States was not expected to have a team in the competition, but the last-minute move seemed to work for the special jumping and Nordic combined squads.