As for the best ski jumpers, also the battle of the best cross-country skiers of the women’s field was a little distorted last year as not all athletes were starting consistently across the FIS Continental Cup or title events like the Youth Olympic Games or FIS Nordic Junior World Ski Championships.
In order to find out who to watch for incredible catch-up races in the World Cup next year, we scoured results lists and cross-country times across all those events and soon enough, two favourites emerged.
Once is of course the current best female Nordic Combined athlete Tara Geraghty-Moats, who can draw on her background as former biathlete and cross-country skier as well as World Cup ski jumper to produce outstanding performances. In 17 of her 18 Continental Cup appearances, she ended up on the podium and is known for her consistently high level of cross-country skiing.
Last year in Eisenerz (AUT), she faced stiff competition by an athlete seven years her junior: Anju Nakamura. The diminutive Japanese skies in fantastic style and with an impressive frequency and in the two times the two faced off directly, Nakamura came away with the better skiing performance both times: she beat Geraghty-Moats by 23 seconds in the Mass Start Cross-Country race and even though she lost a finish line sprint to Geraghty-Moats by 0.5 seconds in the second occasion, she still had a skiing time that was 0.5 seconds faster than the American.
With Geraghty-Moats blazing a trail for the Nordic Combined women and Nakamura continuing to grow into her own, in ski jumping and cross-country skiing, the last word in this duel is definitely not spoken yet and fans better buckle up for future editions of the fight woman against woman out on the track.