Taylor Fletcher, this month's featured athlete, finished the 2012-13 season with the highest ranking of the U.S. Nordic Combined Ski Team and now is preparing for Sochi. (Photo: Sarah Brunson/U.S. Ski Team)
If 2013 is any indication of Taylor Fletcher’s skill and potential, the nordic combined world needs to be on notice. The Steamboat Springs native earned his first World Cup podium and then went on to earn his first team World Ski Championships medal with a bronze at Val di Fiemme, Italy. In addition, Fletcher started the 2012-13 World Cup circuit by posting the fastest time in the season’s opening race, showing his prowess in cross country. Fletcher’s 16th-place finish in the overall World Cup standings ranks him highest among U.S. men in 2013, a number he hopes will rise steadily as the competitive seasons roll on.
Name: Taylor William Fletcher
Sport: Nordic Combined
How/when did you decide you wanted to compete: I realized I wanted to compete at 6 years old. It didn't help that I had a brother (Bryan) who was a nordic combined skier, as well! With living in Steamboat Springs and my brother, I felt like it was the best choice—I was having so much fun doing it.
Biggest accomplishment in your career so far: My best accomplishment would be earning a bronze medal last year at World Championships in Italy. That day was one of the hardest competition days both physically and mentally. I managed to perform at my best and had a bit of luck to help our team medal in the team event.
Goals for next season: To perform at my best and be consistent. I am training for Sochi so I can do my best there. Anything else that comes along is a bonus. My goals are to be in the top 10 overall in World Cup rankings and finish top 5 at the Olympics.
Favorite snow destination: I can’t pick a favorite! I really enjoy the venues we go to in Norway, as they are the birthplaces for the Nordic sports. Seefeld, Austria, was a favorite for sure, as I accomplished my first World Cup podium of my career there. Oberstdorf, Germany, is one of the most beautiful venues. Ramsau, Austria, feels the most like home when in Europe.
Favorite non-snow destination: Home. Steamboat Springs is my favorite destination for sure. It is always nice to return home after the season and see friends and family.
Favorite food: Steak and pizza. I don’t believe I have had a bad experience with either of these great foods. Neither of them last very long when they are put in front of me!
If you weren't a professional athlete what would you be: A student first, then a professional cyclist. I have always believed in school and finishing that, which I still plan on doing.
Time you've been most scared in your life: I am having trouble thinking of the time I was most scared in my life, but being nervous is similar! It was when I first started in the Olympics. I couldn’t believe how nervous I was at that young age!
Biggest vice: Snacking. I feel that I can’t control it and I always catch myself grabbing snacks. Also, I tend to leave stuff around the house and forget to pick them up from time to time
Biggest pet peeve: Loud chewing and eating. Please don’t. Also, please do not get in the bed with lights on and make the other person turn them off.
Advice to others who want to follow in your footsteps: Have fun and listen to your coaches. These two aspects are 100% of the reason I am where I am now. I am having more fun than ever and it helps with the coaches, too.