Steamboat Springs Bryan Fletcher, of Steamboat Springs and the U.S. Ski Team, moved up from 19th place after the ski jumping competition to place 14th in the opening Nordic Combined event of the Nordic World Championships in Val Di Fiemme, Italy, on Friday.
Billy Demong skied a strong cross-country leg to move up from 47th in ski jumping to 23rd place. Two more Steamboat skiers, Taylor Fletcher and Todd Lodwick, placed 25th and 35th, respectively.
The competition was won by Jason Lamy Chappuis, of France, who claimed the gold medal in a wild finish that saw the top four finishers cross the line within one-half second of one another. Veteran Mario Stecher, of Austria, finished second, two-tenths of second behind Lamy Chappuis. Germany’s Bjoern Kircheisen took the bronze.
The ski jumping phase, which sets the time penalties for the start of the cross-country race, was marked by intermittent headwinds.
Bryan Fletcher was philosophical after the ski jumping phase, saying that a finish in the top 10 would please him. He began the cross-country race 1:41 minutes behind the leader and made up 40 seconds on the field, but that wasn’t enough to crack the top 10.
“Obviously, I'm capable of being up there and would love to be on the podium,” Fletcher told Tom Kelly, of the U.S. Ski Team. “I'm just going to go out there and give it what I've got.”
The Nordic combined skiers will be back in action and looking for better ski jumping results Sunday in the team event.
To reach Tom Ross, call 970-871-4205 or email tross@SteamboatToday.com