We asked Kikkan Randall a few questions about her history-making performance in the Olympic sprint.
First of all, congratulations! Top ten finish at the Olympics. How does it feel?
It hasn’t really sunk in yet! I’m just feeling psyched and I can’t wait to sprint again!
Tell us a little bit about your quarterfinal race. What was your strategy?
My usual strategy is to lead it out. However, given the level of competition, I decided a better strategy would be to tuck into second or third and then go for it in the last 200m. During the race it was quite a cat fight out there, I had to ski in and out to get in a good position. I ended up coming from fourth to qualify. I had a strong last 100m.
How about the semifinal? Anything you would have done differently?
In the semifinal I decided to lead out of the start, until the first corner. On the downhill I had really good speed and saw an opening on the inside. I went for it, but so did Petra Majdic, and she ended up forcing me off the course. I had to slow down and tuck into fifth over the top of the hill. I tried to make a couple more moves but to no avail. I needed about 50 more meters to move into fourth! I was bummed to miss out on the B final!
If I could do it all over again I would have tried to lead up the first hill and then make my move off the downhill to the outside instead of the inside. Next time!
Until Wednesday, fellow Alaskan and former Gold 2002/APU teammate Nina Kemppel had the highest American women's finish ever in an Olympic cross country race with her 15th place in Salt Lake. You now own that honor. Tell us what it means to be able to improve on Nina's record.
Nina set an impressive standard and it’s great to continue the upward trend. The US women’s team really needed a boost and I’m most happy to have made a strong case for more support. I think it was a great showing for the APU program as well, the best two Olympic results ever from APU skiers!
Coming into the Olympics, most people were looking to the men's team for the top American results. After all, the US didn't even have a women's National Ski Team coming into this season. Yet, two of the best US results at these Olympics (so far) were your individual sprint and your Team Sprint with Wendy Wagner. Do you think these results will solidify the future of the US women's team?
These good results will definitely help. They can no longer argue that the men deserve more than the women! We’ve earned a future!
You are all done with your Olympic races. Did you celebrate?
Yes, the Canadian team came over to the US Ski team house in Sestriere and we danced the night away! I also received a gold medal made of chocolate from my Mom.
What are your plans for the rest of the season?
Skiing well in the sprint here has secured some funding for me to ski the World Cups in Scandinavia. I am planning on racing the sprint in Borlange, the 10km duathlon in Falun and the classic sprint in Drammen. Then I’ll hit Spring Series in Presque Isle on the way home.