FIS approves schedule for women’s Nordic combined World Cups
On June 4, the International Ski Federation (FIS) OKed the next step for of women’s Nordic combined skiing by approving the sport’s first-ever women’s World Cup schedule for the 2020-2021 season.
The announcement came as no surprise to Tara Geraghty-Moats, a U.S. national team competitor and leader in the sport that combines ski jumping and cross-country. The effort to build the sport has been ongoing within FIS, but women’s Nordic Combined was also knocked out of the running for the 2022 Winter Games in Beijing.
No wonder the native of West Fairlee, Vermont, was relieved to see the FIS schedule approved.
“It was definitely in the plans, but something like this is never sure until you see it on the FIS schedule and they’ve gone over it in the meeting,” she said. “It’s just a huge step for the sport to have it officially finalized and for it to be an official World Cup event.”
Currently, the schedule lists five stops, beginning in Lillehammer, Norway, in December of 2020, and includes a Ski World Championship in Oberstdorf, Germany, on Feb. 23 through March 7. Park City is not a stop on the debut World Cup calendar, but Billy Demong, president of Park City-based USA Nordic and a member of the Nordic combined FIS executive committee, said his organization is working on bringing a World Cup to town in the near future, and that the effort to build the sport, in general, has been collaborative.
“There’s very good solidarity among the nations, the staff of the men’s teams, the event organizers and the young women,” Demong said.
Over the last five years, FIS has hosted increasingly high level events such as the World Junior Championship, which debuted last season, and Continental Cups, which debuted two seasons ago.
Park City was the second stop on the Continental Cup tour last December, which is currently the highest competitive level of women’s Nordic combined. The town is also scheduled to host the first Continental Cup of the upcoming season on Dec. 14-17.
Hosting a World Cup can cost anywhere from $400,000 to $1 million, depending on the location, Demong said, which is one of the reasons why Park City is not yet on the calendar.
“It’s something we are working on with FIS and the TV rights buyers and holders,” Demong said. “Hopefully, as we all look forward to a future bid for the games, our strategic goal at USA Nordic is to bring World Cup events back to the U.S. and especially to Park City in the next five years. We would love to do men’s and women’s ski jumping and Nordic combined on that horizon.”
For Geraghty-Moats, who is just beginning her training for the 2019-2020 season, the World Cup season can’t come soon enough.
The 26-year-old dominated the first the Continental Cup circuit, winning all 10 of the events she competed in and was named FIS women’s Nordic combined athlete of the year on top of competing in World Cup ski jumping.
“She has been waiting for the sport to keep up with her,” Demong said.
On Dec. 5, 2020, she plans to be one of the first women to compete at the World Cup level in a sport that men have competed in at the Olympic level since 1924.
“It’s going to be a really special moment to start the World Cup with the men in Lillehammer,” she said. “That’s such a legendary venue. I’ve competed there on the World Cup for ski jumping but it will be a different feeling for Nordic Combined and of course to have a shot at my first World Cup podium will be special. I’m hoping I can stay healthy and strong and make it there with a couple of teammates.”
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