Alaska native Kikkan Randall has emerged as one of the top female sprinters around, releasing her competitive spirit “Kikkanimal” on the world. (Sarah Brunson/U.S. Ski Team)
World Cup sprint champion Kikkan Randall (Anchorage) fought hard to earn a fifth-place finish during Sunday’s 10k freestyle pursuit, the finale of the Ruka Triple mini-tour and cross country World Cup season opening weekend.
Sadie Bjornsen (Winthrop, WA) skied to a career-best seventh place in the women’s 5k classic Saturday, the second stage of the Ruka Triple mini-tour.
World Cup sprint champion Kikkan Randall won a pre-season 1.2-kilometer freestyle sprint FIS race on Sunday during the U.S. Cross Country Ski Team’s first race series of the 2013-14 Olympic season.
U.S. Ski Team athletes past and present, as well as speedskaters and snowboarders, came together to celebrate Jeret "Speedy" Peterson at the second annual Hurricane for Hope. (Photo: Steven Kornreich)
Park City Reception
Universal Sports Network announced a new TV distribution deal with Time Warner Cable, making it available in some 40 million U.S. homes. (Getty Images/AFP-Fabrice Coffrini)
Kikkan Randall became the first American woman in history to break into the top three overall in the FIS Cross Country World Cup on Sunday.
After stage three of four in the mini-tour, Kikkan Randall remained in her third overall position as the tour heads into its finale on Sunday in Falun, Sweden.
In the second stage of the mini-tour on Friday, Kikkan Randall skied into third place, leading three Americans into the top eight.
Andy Newell placed 11th and took the top finish for the USA in the Royal Palace Classic Sprint.
Sadie Bjornsen was 18th in the 10k classic at the Lahti Ski Games for a career best World Cup distance finish.
Kikkan Randall won a photo finish with Marit Bjoergen to take the win and clinch her second straight FIS World Cup sprint title.
The U.S. Ski Team's women's relay squad skied to an historic best ever fourth place finish at the FIS Nordic World Ski Championships in Val di Fiemme.
Liz Stephen powered into the top five in the 10k individual skate at the FIS World Nordic Ski Championships.
Kikkan Randall Quick Facts
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Niece of former Olympic nordic skiers Chris Haines and Betsy Haines, Kikkan Randall had Olympic pedigree before she set her first ski on snow. She has continued that Randall family legacy and even put her own stamp on it, rising not only to the Olympic level but enjoying arguably the most impressive career in U.S. Nordic Team history.
In 2013 Randall won five World Cup events, including a team sprint in Quebec with teammate Jessie Diggins. The results earned Randall a first-place finish in the final World Cup sprint standings and third place in the overall standings. The third place finish is the highest ever by a U.S. woman, and Randall’s sprint win gives her two globes in two years. To top it off, Randall, with Jessie Diggins, captured the first-ever team sprint gold for the U.S. women at the World Ski Championships—a benchmark that Randall had set coming into the season.
In addition to the two globes and World Championship title, Randall’s storied career has seen her take home 17 U.S. Championships, 16 podiums in the Stage World Cup, three trips to the Olympics and the highest finish by an individual U.S. woman at the World Championships (2nd in the Sprint FS at Liberec, CZE in 2009). In 2011, she became the first U.S. woman to finish a World Cup circuit in the top three (for sprint) and in 2012 she bested that mark by becoming the first to win a sprint title.
Randall’s career can already be considered the most successful for U.S. Nordic Team women to date, but before the final legacy is forged, the Alaska native would love to be the first U.S. Nordic Team woman to stand on an Olympic podium. All eyes are on Sochi.
So I wasn’t expecting anything going into the first World Cup races. When I came out of the weekend with my first distance podium and with our relay finishing so well, I really surprised myself.
The big high point was the gold medal [at World Championships] with Jessie, which was such a cool thing and such an important accomplishment because it was the first gold for the team. I’ve known it was possible for a long time, but getting there was a super-special accomplishment.
I was really happy with my third in the overall because it showed that my distance skiing continues to improve, and winning the globe a second time really showed and validated that the first time wasn’t a fluke. So in the end the season surpassed expectations.
OFF THE SNOW
OLYMPICS (top 15 individual)