Each January, Vermont Sports Magazine publishes the profiles of 10 Vermont athletes who have made our state proud in the past year. Even with race schedules cut short, travel curtailed and being isolated from training partners, these athletes pushed through the year of Covid-19 and showed how you can stay motivated, stay fit and stay on top of the game. Here’s our annual salute to 10 athletes Vermont should be proud of. See a full list of 2020‘s 10 Athletes of the Year in alphabetical order as well as links to previous years’ honorees.
Tara Geraghty-Moats’ Dream Come True
Ever since she was a 9-year-old girl launching off the Storrs Hill ski jump near her home in West Fairlee, Tara Geraghty-Moats has loved ski jumping. And since then, she’s been thinking about one thing: becoming the best Nordic combined female athlete in the world.
This may have been a goal she accomplished long ago: She’s been on the U.S. Ski Jumping Team for many years and was competitive on the international level as a junior in both cross-country and biathlon. In 2019 and the first part of 2020, she dominated the first Continental Cup for Nordic Combined.
But until December 18, 2020 when the first Nordic Combined World Cup was held in Ramsau, Austria, there was no such trophy or competition for women. Which made the chance Geraghty-Moats’ win in that inaugural event all the sweeter. “It’s an actual dream come true,” Geraghty-Moats said after the cross-country race, which she won by 1.5 seconds.
Nordic Combined, an event where an athlete’s start in the cross-country half of the event is determined by their finishes in the ski jumping portion, has remained the last winter Olympic sport that is only open to men. For decades Tara Geraghty-Moats has been aiming to change that. She was deeply disappointed when a women’s event was passed over for the 2022 Olympics and is now gunning to compete in the first Olympic event in 2026, when she will be 32.
Last season, when the sport debuted at the Continental Cup level and Geraghty-Moats easily won five of the nine events, and finished second in two of them. For the first time, a women’s Nordic Combined event was introduced at the Youth Olympic Games last February and Geraghty-Moats was there as a role-model athlete, a part she has been quietly playing off the stage for some time.