2019 Athlete of the Year: Tara Geraghty-Moats
Tara Geraghty-Moats is leading the way for women in Nordic Combined—both as an athlete and as an advocate.
Tara Geraghty-Moats, West Fairlee, VT
For more than a year, Tara Geraghty-Moats has been what the Federation International du Ski (FIS) has called “the measuring stick for all Nordic Combined women, lending her voice and personality to a sport in which women have to make up for a lot of lost time.
In 2018/19, the first season of there even being a Nordic Combined Continental Cup for women, Geraghty-Moats won just about every event she entered, from Steamboat Springs, Colo. and Park City, Utah to events in Estonia and Russia.
In December, in Park City, Geraghty-Moats once again swept the first Nordic Combined Continental Cup event of the 2019/20 season.
In January, she will take time away from her dual-sport (Nordic combined and ski jumping) schedule to serve in an official capacity as an Athlete Role Model at the Youth Olympic Games in Lausanne, Switzerland, which will have a Nordic Combined event for women. Nordic Combined remains the only event not open to women in the regular Winter Olympics, something Geraghty-Moats has been campaigning to change. While it has yet to be named an Olympic sport, in 2020/21 there will be a World Cup in Nordic Combined for women.
What makes Geraghty-Moats mastery of this dual sport where your starting time in a cross-country ski race is determined by how well you fare in the ski jumping event, even more impressive is this: she’s simultaneously competing at the World Cup level as a ski jumper. That’s a feat akin to a rodeo rider also competing in steeplechase.
On Dec. 9, 2019, during a World Cup jump in Lillehammer, Norway, Geraghty-Moats got off balance after launching off the jump, her ski caught the air and she went crashing down. While the crash appeared horrific, sending her sliding down the sloped landing area, she suffered only a bruised hip and a sore rib. “I’ve honestly had worse injuries slipping on the ice in the parking lot,” she wrote on her social media pages.
A week later, she was back to winning the first Nordic Combined event of 2019/20 in Park City, Utah.