Bryan and Taylor Fletcher look to build on U.S. Nordic Combined’s breakout Olympics in 2010 as two of the leaders on the 2014 U.S. Olympic Nordic Combined Team.
The Fletchers joined 2010 Olympic champion Bill Demong and silver medalist Todd Lodwick on the four-man team. They are the seventh set of siblings on the 2014 U.S. Olympic Team, breaking the U.S. Winter Games record of six in 1964, when there were far fewer total athletes than today.
Demong is going to his fourth Olympics; Lodwick, previously named to the team, is headed for a record sixth Winter Olympics for an American, so long as his shoulder holds up.
“We’re hoping that [Lodwick] is going to be able to recover and contribute to the team,” U.S. coach Dave Jarrett said. “We’re not necessarily looking at the first individual event (Feb. 12) for Todd. We want to give as much time as possible for the fractures to heal.”
The team event is Feb. 20.
Bryan Fletcher, four years older than Taylor, was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia at age 3, underwent seven years of chemotherapy and survived a stroke before his cancer went into remission.
Taylor Fletcher was also on the 2010 U.S. Olympic Team but was not chosen for the team event, where Demong and Lodwick won silver with Johnny Spillane and Brett Camerota.
“[Taylor] and his brother, Bryan, have begun to fill the void that Todd and Bill and Johnny have started to leave and are going to leave,” Jarrett said.
Earler in the Games, Spillane (now retired) won the first U.S. Olympic Nordic combined medal, a silver in the normal hill. Later, Demong won the first U.S. Olympic Nordic combined gold medal in the large hill.
“Bill is close to medal contention now,” Jarrett said. “If anyone knows how to peak physically and mentally when you really have, to Bill Demong is one of the best in the world at doing that.”
This year’s team is unlikely to achieve that kind of success. No American man or team has made a World Cup podium this season — Bryan Fletcher ranks highest in overall standings at 18th. However, the team won World Championships bronze last year.
The Fletcher brothers join six other sets of siblings on the U.S. Olympic Team — cross-country skiers Erik and Sadie Bjornsen, curlers Craig and Erika Brown, figure skaters Maia and Alex Shibutani, hockey players Amanda and Phil Kessel and Jocelyne and Monique Lamoureux and snowboarders Arielle and Taylor Gold.
Here’s the U.S. Olympic Nordic Combined Team:
Bill Demong — 1998, 2002, 2006, 2010 Olympian
Taylor Fletcher — 2010 Olympian
Todd Lodwick — 1994, 1998, 2002, 2006, 2010 Olympian