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Nordic Combined Still Not An Option For Female Olympic Athletes

USA Nordic

The IOC announced last week that Women's Nordic Combined event will not be a part of the 2022 Winter Olympics.

The International Olympic Committee announced last week the addition of seven events for the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics. US Nordic Executive Director Billy Demong was disappointed to learn that Women’s Nordic Combined was not included.

“There was a lot of hype around gender equality and the addition of new disciplines in sports. Team aerials and big air were added as well as mono-bob(sled) for women. It was focused on how they’re approaching gender equality. There’s 45% of the medal events now are for women.” Demong said, “So, there’s a lot of development on that side. But with one of the original Olympic disciplines, Nordic Combined skiing, we’re really disappointed with this decision.”

The event combines ski jumping with cross-country skiing. Nordic Combined is the only event in the Winter Olympics that is not open to both genders. Tara Geraghty-Moats has been training for over a decade to compete in Nordic Combined. Geraghty-Moats was understandably disappointed with the IOC’s decision.

“I did know that this was a possible decision of the IOC. I knew it was sort of a flip of a coin. I was disappointed but I’m really excited about the fact that we have world championships coming up in 2021 for Women’s Nordic Combined.” Geraghty-Moats said, “We have a world cup in the 2019-2020 season, and this year we’ll have a continental cup. As well as, the first ever Jr. World Championships for the younger girls.”

Geraghty-Moats says she’ll continue to train for Ski Jumping events while also campaigning for Women’s Nordic Combined.

“We’re all trying to work together and find the best solution for me. I will be trying to make the 2019 world championship team for ski jumping and also compete in as many Nordic Combined international events that I can.” Geraghty-Moats continued, “Help promote the support, help be an ambassador, help make it look exciting for young women getting into the sport.”

Demong says he thinks that Nordic Combined just didn’t have the political pull to be placed in the upcoming Olympics.

“I hate to say this, but I think it’s very political. With a number of sports that they did add, there’s definitely also a pursuit of balance in terms of sustainability and a number of events in each quad. So, with adding that many new disciplines and new sports I think Nordic Combined potentially isn’t politically strong enough to usurp a bid for another discipline.” Demong continued, “I do think going forward, with the solidarity amongst all the countries--I know Germany was very disappointed by this decision, Norway (was), everybody’s been investing in trying to build this sport--I think going forward we will see this coming to the games.

Demong is hopeful that Women’s Nordic Combined will be added to the Olympics soon.

“Not that it’s always a hard rule but, one of the biggest things we’ve heard in the past when disciplines like women’s ski jumping originally didn’t make it into the games in 2010, is that it hasn’t had a world championships. We have world championships on the calendar for 2021 so that would be the last real argument to not have it. I do know that not having an official World Jr. Championships but an unofficial one last year as a test event. We did have great participation. We had 14 nations, and 36 athletes which I think actually beat everybody’s expectation.” Demong said, “I think the real danger here though is for an athlete like Tara. Going forward she can’t really focus on Nordic Combined because there’s not a world cup level with prize money. So, she still has to keep her head in ski jumping. We don’t want to lose people while we try to get to this highest level. My hope is that by 2022/2023 we’ll have a full world cup tour.”

KPCW reporter David Boyle covers all things in the Heber Valley as well as sports and breaking news.
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