Akito Watabe battles his way to the front in a FIS Nordic Combined World Cup at the Lahti Ski Games in Finland. (Getty Images/AFP - Martti Kainulainen)
LAHTI, Finland (March 6, 2015) - Japan's Akito Watabe slogged through deep snow to make up 54 seconds on the leaders and take a hard fought victory over Germany's World Champion Johannes Rydzek as the Lahti Ski Games opened in Finland with a FIS Nordic Combined World Cup. It was a tough day on the jumping hill for the USA, with Taylor Fletcher (Steamboat Springs, CO) the lone American finisher in 26th.
Taylor Fletcher was 35th after the jump, 2:28 back from Norway's Haavard Klemetsen, gaining back around 30 seconds in the cross country leg to finish 26th.
Taylor Fletcher led the USA finishing 29th in a large hill FIS Nordic Combined World Cup to open the Lahti Ski Games in Finland.
A team sprint is on tap for Saturday with two USA teams including Adam Loomis pairing up with Jasper Good, and Ben Berend and Taylor Fletcher skiing together.