With 45 lbs. tied to the waist; one pull-up bar and a long stretch of road to finalize the workout, this is a typical day for the perfect winter victor who goes by the name, Kikkan Randall, or “Kikkanimal.” This 31-year-old, Alaskan-raised athlete spends most of her time training for Olympic cross-country skiing. She is bound for Sochi, and she trains hard. She strives to be the first female American Olympian to bring home the Gold medal from this competition. If it were up to the public, many would nominate Randall for the Olympic crown. Spectators can only hope from a distance.
An anonymous Facebook fan writes, “We are very proud of our Kikkan” “…& will be watching her dominate her 4th Olympics!” From Anchorage, Alaska niece of 1976 Olympics cross-country skier, and niece of an Olympics 1980 on-course racer, Randall says this sport is “in my blood.” She is married to Canadian ski-racer, Jeff Ellis, a true supporter of the Perfect Winter Victor. She started the “big Games” at the age of 18 where she took part in the Salt Lake City Olympics. Born in Utah, she carried a sense of pride with her as she competed as member of the 2002 Olympic team. The time to shine in Sochi this year begins at 5:00 AM on Feb. 8 and continues through Feb. 23.
The opening ceremony has started, and 40,000 people stand at Fischt Olympic Stadium, while 37,000 hired police patrol the grounds. The torch is said to have traveled at least 65,000 kilometers (even to space on the historic spacewalk that took place late last year). Though anticipation already weighs so heavily on every participant, people across the world question the terrorist threats on the Olympic Games. Dimitry Chernyshenko, head of Games, says “Sochi will be the safest place on Earth” during this international event.
Qualification started a day ago. US Olympian, Hannah Kearney, scored top of run at 23.05 in the freestyle skiing. Russia scored 19 in the figure skating qualifications and men’s Slopestyle Snowboarding also had a top qualifier. The Norweigen 20-year-old Staale Sandbech comes in at 94.50. Saturday marks the start of the semi-finals. Supporters await Kikkan’s appearance.
In 2008, Randall made history, scoring the first World Cup victory in women’s cross-country. Continuing on her streak, she won the US women’s World Championship in the Czech Republic, 2009. Her fastest mile time is five minutes and .2 seconds. Coached by Erik Flora, Randall won the 2012 and 2013 World Cup Overall Sprint, and the 2013 World Ladies Championship with Jessie Diggins. 2014 is target of yet another Kikkanimal victory, much encouraged and expected.
Growing up, Randall was a cross-country runner. She later used skiing as a training tool which she naturally mastered. Now, every “milestone in Randall’s career marks a new record in the sport.” She is a Lead U.S. Ambassador for Fast and Female (an empowerment program for young girls), and a respected FIS Athlete Representative. Many claim she is one of, if not the most, impressive Nordic Team athlete in history. The Sochi Winter Olympics is told to be the most expensive Olympics to date. This is the perfect venue for a perfect winter victor.
By Lindsey Alexander