FIS announces women’s Nordic combined World Cup circuit starting in 2020-21
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Women’s Nordic combined is seeing its dreams come to life.
The International Ski Federation announced on Friday that there will be a women’s World Cup circuit starting with the 2020-21 season. The season will culminate with a first-ever appearance in the FIS World Ski Championships in Oberstordf, Germany.
“2021 has been on the calendar and I’m really happy we’re arriving on time,” USA Nordic executive director Billy Demong said. “The International Ski Federation has been very diligent over the past five years of our eight-year strategic plan.”
Demong said the plan originally made adding women’s Nordic combined to the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics the goal. But last July, the International Olympic Committee decided against it, citing that the competition was not at a level of participation that it should be.
The women’s Continental Cup series started in the 2017-18 season but featured a more robust calendar this 2018-19 season, hosting women from 17 different countries in 11 events. The women’s Junior World Championships also made its debut in the 2019 season, providing younger competitors a chance to compete internationally.
“The one thing we’ve been missing with potential generations of women’s Nordic combined winners is: there’s not a carat,” Demong said. “They could only compete until the junior national level.”
The 2020-21 World Cup will travel to five locations for 13 events that coincide with the men’s World Cup, to make resources easily shared and available. The season will open Dec. 13-15, 2020, in Park City, Utah. The women are currently slated to compete in the FIS Summer Grand Prix tour for the second time in Germany this summer.
Steamboat Springs hosted the first-ever women’s Nordic combined Continental Cup in America on Dec. 14, 2018. The event hosted 15 women from around the world for two days of competition. Steamboat has a long history of being a hub for men’s Nordic combined, and is naturally coming into the same role for women.
“Having such a strong history and tradition in not only men’s Nordic combined, but in women’s, just balances us out,” Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club Nordic combined director Todd Wilson said. “That means, for a number of our athletes, that new opportunities are ahead. I hope Steamboat athletes will get those first World Cup starts.”
USA Nordic had three competitors in this year’s Continental Cup, including New York’s Tara Geraghty-Moats and Steamboat’s own Annika Malacinski, 17, and Tess Arnone, 15. Geraghty-Moats won 10 of 11 Continental Cup events last year and is considered a pioneer in women’s Nordic combined.
“I can only hope the IOC (International Olympic Committee) will notice that the sport is now at a high level,” Geraghty-Moats said in a press release for USA Nordic. “Including women in the FIS World Cup will help the women get sponsors. However, it will still be extremely hard to make a career out of the sport until it’s in the Olympics.”
Both Malacinski and Arnone are currently on USA Nordic’s team with Geraghty-Moats, while Steamboat’s Alexa Brabec, 14, is a member of the Junior National team. All of them can now strive for the opportunity to compete in the first-ever World Championships in 2021.
“I think it’s really cool to think that, especially if I would take it to the limit and go to the world championships, that I would be one of the first women to do that ever,” Malacinski said. “I’d love to be a part of that history.”