Fletcher joins special jumpers for team event

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Taylor Flet­cher

— 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.

Comments

Lindsay Wert 4 years, 10 months ago

Taylor Fletcher is a good Nordic Combined athlete. But, Taylor should not have participated in the Special Jumping team competition at the 2010 Olympic Games in Vancouver. Fletcher’s discipline is Nordic Combined, and he has not earned the FIS points required to jump as a US Special Jumper. These are two separate disciplines. The FIS qualification for each of these disciplines is very different.
There are several US Special Jumpers with FIS points who are more qualified to jump as a Special Jumper and could have participated in the Special Jumping Team event. Because of the FIS Special Jumping rules, only 3 Special Jumpers were allowed to compete at the Vancouver Olympic Games. At least that is what they were told. The Special Jumping Team event requires 4 jumpers from each country. If FIS Special Jumping rules did not apply to the participants in the Special Jumping Team event, why wasn’t another US Special Jumper asked to participate in the Team event? I am sure that one of the top ranked Special Jumpers not participating in the current Olympic Games would have been greatly honored to have participated in the team event. As Special Jumpers, they have earned the honor to jump in the Olympic Games because of their passion and commitment to the sport not because they just happened to be in Vancouver to compete in another discipline.
Did the US Olympic Committee take into consideration the feelings of the Special Jumpers not participating when this decision was made? Why didn’t the US Olympic Committee determine that a 4th Special Jumper was needed to compete in the Special Jumping Team event prior to the start or the Vancouver Olympic Games and take a Special Jumper? What factors were used to determine that a Nordic Combined athlete should participate in the Special Jumping Team event? Was it money? We try to teach our children what is fair. This decision was not fair! The US Special Jumping team trains as hard as the US Nordic Combined team. They receive little or no funding from the USSA or other sources to train and compete. Financial and emotional support comes from parents and friends of each team member. Why should the Special Jumpers be denied the resources or opportunities to advance and succeed?
The passion to jump resides within each US Special Jumper. Give these kids the opportunity they deserve!

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