Tara Geraghty-Moats in action during day two of the FIS Ski Jumping World Cup Ladies Zao on Jan. 20, 2019 in Yamagata, Japan.
Nordic combined competitor Tara Geraghty-Moats continued her winning ways on Friday, only this time she did so in a historic way.
Geraghty-Moats, the two-time defending champion on the lower-level Continental Cup, overcame a half-minute deficit in the cross-country ski race in Ramsau, Austria, to win the first world cup event for women’s Nordic combined. Norway’s Gyda Westvold Hansen was second, followed by Japan’s Anju Nakamura.
Three other Americans also took part in the competition, with Annika Malacinski, Alexa Brabec and Tess Arnone finishing 28th, 29th and 30th.
Nordic combined — in which athletes ski jump and then race in cross-country skiing — has been an Olympic sport since the first Winter Games in 1924, though it’s been limited to men and remains the only event in the Olympics without women’s participation.
The FIS began taking steps toward gender equality in 2018 when it created the Continental Cup. The effort made greater gains this season with the debut of the women’s world cup series as well as women’s Nordic combined being included in the 2021 FIS Nordic Ski World Championships this February in Oberstdorf, Germany. The soonest the women’s event could be added to the Olympic program is in 2026.
Geraghty-Moats, a 27-year-old from West Fairlee, Vermont, came into the event as a favorite.
“For me personally, going into this competition I’m not going to treat it any differently than any other competition,” she told TeamUSA.org earlier this week.“At the same time, this is the first-ever women’s world cup. We’re making history. We’re doing something that’s never been done before, and being part of that is extremely exciting.”
Finishing sixth in the ski jump portion on the normal hill, Geraghty-Moats began the 5-kilometer ski race 30 seconds behind jump winner Westvold Hansen. The American was up to second place by the 0.8K checkpoint, however, and was in the lead by 3.3K. She completed the ski race with a time of 13:58.3, with the Norwegian crossing the line 1.5 seconds later.