Nordic combined skier Bryan Fletcher is a cancer survivor whose tenacity and get-it-done outlook have taken him to the top of his sport. He is this month's Athlete Spotlight. Photo: Margo Christiansen/USSA
Nordic combined skier Bryan Fletcher is a cancer survivor whose tenacity and get-it-done outlook have taken him to the top of his sport. In 2012, Fletcher won the King’s Cup at Holmenkollen, topped the USA rankings and made regular top-10 appearances on World Cup podiums. Fletcher almost didn't make it to the world stage, though, having been diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia at the age of three. Fletcher underwent chemotherapy for over seven years, surviving a stroke in the process before going into remission. He kept ski jumping throughout treatment because it made him happy. Since then Fletcher has never looked back, improving each season and quickly developing into a nordic combined contender. Most recently, he teamed up with brother Taylor Fletcher, Billy Demong and Todd Lodwick to earn a team podium in Schonach, Germany.
Name: Bryan Fletcher
Sport: Nordic Combined
How/when did you decide you wanted to compete: I think I started competing when I was 6 years old. However, I think the first time I realized I wanted to do this at the highest level was probably around 15.
Biggest accomplishment in your career so far: Winning the Holmenkollen World Cup in Olso, Norway, last season.
Goals for next season: I would really like to come home with some hardware from World Championships. That is a big goal of mine this year! Short of that, I would like to add a few more podiums on World Cup this season.
Favorite snow destination: Really depends on what activity has enticed me to go there. I don’t think I can pick just one favorite.
Favorite non-snow destination: One of the coolest places I have been in the summer was Australia. I had a blast on the beaches and hanging out with some of the locals there. That’s definitely near the top of my list.
If you weren't a professional athlete what would you be: Probably a college graduate looking for a job that could support my serious skiing addiction!
Time you've been most scared in your life: The first time I climbed onto the bar in Planica for my first jump ski flying, either that or my first base jump in Twin Falls, ID. Both of those got my heart pumping pretty good!
Biggest vice: Sweets. Over the last two years I have become a candy connoisseur.
Biggest pet peeve: Slow internet while I am on the road. It's really hard to stay in touch with family, friends, and fans when you cannot load any pages.
Advice to others who want to follow in your footsteps: “Big trees grow slowly” (unknown). Throughout my career this has proved true so many times. Keep working hard, have patience and the belief and the results will come and they will!