Ladies in the Spotlight: Tara Geraghty-Moats (USA)
„Ladies Nordic Combined is a dream come true!“
Prior to the first international Ladies Nordic Combined competitions in conjunction with this year’s Summer Grand Prix, it is high time to focus on the females of the discipline, different as their ages, current situations and paths may be as of now, at the dawn of their discipline.
For the first edition, meet 21-year-old American Tara Geraghty-Moats. While being a little bit older than the age group who will participate in the international training camp and competitions this summer, Tara has been a Nordic Combined athlete at heart since the beginning, seeking temporary refuge at ski jumping, cross-country skiing and biathlon in her career.
Judging from your social media accounts, you have been quite excited about the recent developments concerning Ladies Nordic Combined. What does this „dawn of a discipline“ mean to you personally?
Tara Geraghty-Moats: Personally, it means a lot. My whole athletic career, I have gone back and forth between Jumping and Cross-Country Skiing. I grew up training at my local club with a group of junior of Nordic Combiners. In training, I did the same program as the boys but when the time came for the competitions there was no opportunity for me because I was a girl.
I'm lucky that I had the support as a younger athlete to do both Jumping, and Cross-Country, and enjoyed a lot of success in both sports. However, I hope that the next generation of girls who are talented at both Ski Jumping and Cross-Country skiing will have Nordic Combined as an option to pursue. I know there are a few girls in the US hopping for this, too.
Obviously, Nordic Combined for ladies was not available when you were at the crucial age when a lot of athletes pick their future disciplines. How did your path as an athlete go instead?
Geraghty-Moats: At the point when I really had to decided on a sport I got injured in Ski Jumping and I needed to take a few years off from the sport. My decision was made for me to switch to Cross-Country. I thought I would get a little bored training just for Cross-country skiing, and I didn't know if I would ever be able to go back to jumping, so I started with biathlon. I only did biathlon for 4 years. My best races where 18th at Junior Worlds, and a Junior National Championship title in Sweden.
Now I am no longer a Junior in biathlon and I think I am done with it for now. It was a great experience for me to be a biathlete, and helped me grow and mature as an athlete.
In which sport do you feel the most at home now?
Geraghty-Moats: This is a tough question! I guess the answer would be Nordic Combined. When I am not jumping I miss it all the time, nothing compares to the thrill of having a good jump and flying to the bottom of the hill.
But when I train, as I am now, for only ski jumping I feel like something is missing. I like the balance that comes from training Cross-County. It is painful to feel the thousands of hours I spent training for Biathlon and Cross-County skiing slipping away. I love Cross-Country, because I enjoy using my body to its full potential and going fast. It's an incredibly satisfying feeling.
What sets Nordic Combined apart from ski jumping and cross-country skiing or biathlon?
Geraghty-Moats: It combines the badassness of Ski Jumping and hardcoreness of Cross-Country skiing. To be a an exceptional Nordic Combiner you must be a well rounded, incredibly versatile athlete, that not only has the the nerve and focus of a jumper, but also the dedication and persistence of a Cross-Country skier.
Would you like to compete in international Ladies Nordic Combined competitions in the future ?
Geraghty-Moats: Yes, of course. This would be a dream come true.
Your vision for the future of Ladies Nordic Combined?
Geraghty-Moats: I would like to see a World Championship event for Women's Nordic Combined before I retire, as well as a test event for the World Cup or World Championships in the next couple of years.
Or maybe now there should be a sport that is Ski Jumping with a biathlon race after, kind of a "Super Combined“! (laughs)