Ladies in the Spotlight: Tara Geraghty-Moats (USA)
© Sandra Volk

In Tara Geraghty-Moats' case, it would possibly be quicker to list the sports she has not been active in yet. Fondoitalia’s Paolo Romano portrayed the 25-year-old multi-talent from Vermont (find the original, long version of the article here) and asked some questions. 

Are you disappointed in the Olympic Committee for their decision to not include Ladies’ Nordic Combined in the Peking 2022 program?

Tara Geraghty-Moats: I was not very optimistic that the IOC would add Ladies' Nordic combined to the Olympics right away. I saw what happened with Ski Jumping, and how long and hard everyone had to fight to have it be included.  

At this point, I can only do the same and fight to develop the sport and hope they change their outlook on Ladies’ Nordic Combined. We are not a completely new sport and but a discipline that has been around since the very first winter games. They don't need to add an entirely new sport but merely make one they already have gender equal.

Even though I knew all these facts, I still cried when I heard Ladies’ Nordic Combined would not be in the Olympics. Then it was time to go back to training, and working hard to be the best athlete I can be. I know life is not always fair and can be full of disappointments, but it is important to look on the bright side, enjoy the opportunities I have, and work hard to make the most of them. 

What would you suggest to FIS in order to develop Ladies’ Nordic Combined more quickly?

Geraghty-Moats:I think FIS has actually done an incredible job in recent years to develop the sport. I'm impressed with the level of organisation, and commitment to the ladies that FIS has. Equal Prize money for the men and women in the COC this winter really shows to me how well FIS Nordic Combined is moving into the modern age of valuing women in sports. I think FIS needs to keep in the direction they are already on.  

I hope to see national team coaches encouraging the youth girls that want to participate in the sport. I also hope to see National Governing Bodies funding the women just like the men. This I think is the most important thing for growing the sport. 

After ski jumping, telemark, biathlon, cross-country and all the sports you’ve done in the past, would you call Nordic Combined your definitive sport ?

Geraghty-Moats:All the sports I have done made me the athlete I am today. I competed internationally in Biathlon, Cross-Country, Ski Jumping and now Nordic Combined. I will say that my plan for the next few years is to do both Ski Jumping and Nordic combined. Thankfully USA Nordic is supporting me with this.  

What is does Nordic Combined mean to you? Why do you like it so much?

Geraghty-Moats:It combines my two favourite sports. I love the thrill of flying and the satisfaction of being strong and going fast.  

In this first season in Nordic Combined, you are in the race with girls that are even eight to ten years younger than you . How do you feel about it?

Geraghty-Moats:It is good to see an age range in the sport. You see this in every ski discipline at the highest level. Age doesn't matter, only the spirit of a competitor. I appreciate all fellow competitors who push me to do my best.  

What are your targets and programs for next season 2019?

Geraghty-Moats: My goals are quite high for this season. I would like to be the overall COC winner for Nordic Combined and make the USA Ski Jumping team for World Championships.   

Do you think is correct having one format with one jump and 5 km cross-country skiing ? Or do you ask for gender equality here too with same formats as the men?

Geraghty-Moats: No, I think it would be fun to see some two jump formats, or have competitions reducing the actual rule of 15 points per minute all the time that, in my opinion, penalise the best skiers. At the moment, Ladies’ Nordic Combined favours the stronger ski jumpers. 

I think that having a mix of competitions is important. Not everything has to be exactly the same all the time. It is important to change the format as the sport grows. Right now, I think it is appropriate to have mostly 5 km for the women. However, mass starts and relays sound really fun. A mixed relay would be special as well.

(Editor’s note: since the interview was held, the Nordic Combined Committee within FIS approved of the first Mass Start for ladies to be held at the COC finals in Nizhny Tagil in the upcoming season)

What kind of person are you outside of the competitions? 

Geraghty-Moats:For that I think you will have to ask my friends. Maybe, Nina Lussi. (laughs) I never give up on things I love. I like to go on adventures outdoors, eat doughnuts, party, try to make the world a better place, and spend my few days of free time with my family and friends.