Taylor Fletcher, 23
Q. When were you in the club and what discipline?
A. I joined the club at the young age of 4 in the Learn to Ski Jump program. From that moment, I was a Nordic combined skier. I started with the Little Vikings program and looked forward to the pizza and hot chocolate after the competition on Wednesday Night Jump. I tried ice hockey, but after following my brother around and seeing how much fun he was having, I couldn’t wait to get out there and jump and ski. I think I started so young by default. They didn’t have a J7 in competition, so I just had to ski up. I was always in the chase, but then, the tables turned. Fun times.
Q. Who were your friends in the club?
A. I was really close with all my teammates in the Nordic programs as well as the Alpine programs. I am happy to say I am still In touch with most of the athletes that I competed with and they will be lifelong friends. Brett Denney was one of my teammates, and we are currently traveling to France for World Cups as we speak. Sam Chovan and Andy Garber were my friends. I have taken up road bike racing in the off-season, and Sam races with me at times.
Q. What is your favorite club memory?
A. It is very hard to point one moment as my favorite. The whole system was amazing. I would say traveling to the club after school with the other athletes to train at night on Howelsen. I couldn’t get out of school fast enough and get on that bus. All my friends were there, and it was fun to chat up in the locker room prior to training. Todd would be screaming five minutes, and we would rush out to get on the hill and JUMP. After training, there would be a long line for warm cookies at the snack bar, and the smell of the fresh cookies will be something I will always remember.
Q. What are you doing now?
A. With the skills that the SSWSC gave me, I made the national team in 2009 before the 2010 Olympics. I was excited as that winter I made the Olympic team and watched my teammates win four out of seven possible medals in Vancouver. Now I am traveling with goals of gold in Sochi for my second Olympic Games. I will say I am very happy with my chances.
Q. What impact did the club have on you?
A. The club did wonders for me. It kept me very committed and dedicated to be an athlete. It also taught me proper values and direction that kept out of trouble and on the correct path to success. I have used the skills that the coaches taught me to be successful in life — organization, learning to lose, win and be a solid athlete. The coaches were true mentors and would inspire you to be as great as you can. Todd Wilson, Gary Crawford, Chris Gilbertson, Martin Bayer, all made a great team. They made you believe that you were going to be a champion.