It’s happening, dreams are coming true. Most modern athletes define dreams coming true as standing atop a podium in their respective sport. Tess Arnone isn’t like most modern athletes. For USA Nordic Nordic Combined Junior National Team member Arnone, merely having a competition of a certain caliber to compete in at all, is the dream come true.
At the FIS Nordic Junior World Ski Championships last week in Lahti, Finland this week, history was made as 14 nations were represented by a trailblazing field of U23 women nordic combined athletes.
15-year-old Arnone from the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club didn’t finish in the top ten in Europe as she has stateside in her last four FIS Continental Cups but that’s not the headline here. Not for her proud family who made the trip across the pond to cheer her on, not for her junior teammates, Charlotte Ripp and Alexa Brabec, not for her national teammate, Tara Geraghty-Moats, and certainly not for USA Nordic Development Director, Jed Hinkley who had this to say about the historic event, “We are so excited to see women’s nordic combined included in the Junior World Championships, and hope to see a team event in the near future. It is also awesome to see a good size field and athletes skiing at a high level on both the jumping and xc side. Tess Arnone did not have quite the day she was hoping for on the jump hill, but finished with a solid race.”
The headline rather is the jump into global progress for these phenomenal athletes who relish the opportunity to show the world their exceptional skills. Lahti’s FIS Nordic Jr. World Ski Championships historic first place podium spot went to Japan’s Ayane Miyazaki with Norway taking second and Japan also in third.
Fans might have to wait until 2026 to enjoy rooting for these incredible female nordic combined athletes in the Olympic Games. However, the bricks are being laid. The rest of the 2019 winter season includes Continental Cups in Norway and Russia- the longest season yet for women’s nordic combined.