Bryan Fletcher, shown here jumping at the Utah Olympic Park, led the U.S. Ski Team in Lillehammer. (USSA/Tom Kelly)
LILLEHAMMER, Norway (Dec. 4) - Bryan Fletcher (Steamboat Springs, CO) led the way for the U.S. Ski Team, finishing 16th Sunday in the first trial of the new penalty race format nordic combined World Cup in Lillehammer. Germany's Eric Frenzel led both the jump and cross country to take the win with no penalty rounds.
First World Cup trial of penalty format where athletes ski a short penalty loop(s) of 150 meters based on jumping results.
Bryan Fletcher jumped 35th, skied four penalty loops, and finished 16th.
Olympic champion Billy Demong was disqualified when he skied only three of four penalty rounds.
World Cup action now shifts to Ramsau, Austria next weekend. Domestically, the Continental Cup returns to the Utah Olympic Park and Soldier Hollow in Utah for three events next Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
QUOTES Dave Jarrett, Head Nordic Combined Coach Psyched for Bryan. He did a good job in the race as did Billy aside from his counting skills.
Overall, it was a good format but showcased the flaws in the jumping format with no wind or gate compensation. It's a little hard to say how the format will be received in the public and on TV.