Bryan Fletcher Rallies for Olympic Spot in Nordic Combined

Bryan Fletcher (5) reacts after competing in the cross-country ski portion of the Nordic Combined at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials Saturday, Dec. 30, 2017, in Park City City. Fletcher qualified for his second consecutive Olympic team in Nordic Combined after rallying for a victory at the U.S. Trials. AP Photo/Rick Bowmer

Bryan Fletcher qualified for his second consecutive Olympic team in Nordic Combined after rallying for a victory at the U.S. Trials on Saturday.

Fletcher finished the 10-kilometer cross-country in 25 minutes, 6.81 seconds to overcome a poor showing in the earlier ski jump. He placed fifth out of nine athletes after jumping a distance of 86.5 meters and scoring 102.3 points.

The American skier is considered the frontrunner to take Olympic gold in slalom, which she won at the 2014 Games in Sochi.

(Published Thursday, Jan. 11, 2018)

"I just had to ski smart and leave enough in the tank at the end that I could finish strong," Fletcher said. "It was going to be a really hard finish no matter what, so I gave it everything I had. If the finish line was 10 feet further, I don't know if I would have made it."

Ben Loomis earned the lead starting spot heading into the 10K race after scoring 123.2 points on his jump. Loomis jumped a distance of 92.5 meters at a speed of 55.1 mph (88.8 kph).

Fletcher started the 10K race 1 minute, 24 seconds behind Loomis. He made up ground quickly and overtook Loomis toward the end of the fourth lap. From there, Fletcher pulled away just enough to clinch an Olympic spot on his final lap.

"I wouldn't say it was my peak performance, but strong enough for sure," Fletcher said.

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley recently said it was an "open question" if U.S. athletes would compete in the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics because of concerns over North Korea. White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was asked to comment.

(Published Thursday, Dec. 7, 2017)

Adam Loomis, Ben's brother, finished second both in the 10K and ski jump. His final time differential was 12.8 seconds behind Fletcher after finishing the 10K in 25 minutes, 47.63 seconds. Ben Loomis dropped to third in the 10K, and Ben Berend took third in the jump.

Taylor Fletcher, Bryan's younger brother and a member of both the 2010 and 2014 Olympic teams, finished fourth.

Bryan Fletcher was the only qualifier on Saturday. Two more qualifiers for the 2018 Pyeongchang Games will be selected when the trials continue with men's and women's ski jumping on Sunday.