RUHPOLDING, Germany – When U.S. women’s coach Jonne Kahkonen showed up on the shooting range for Saturday’s women’s 4 x 6 kilometer relay, he looked a bit…. different than the last time he’d been there.
The previously blonde Finn, who is in his second year coaching the U.S. women, was sporting a dark purplish pink hue atop his head, which turned out to match well with the red and blue U.S. team gear. His new look was part of a bet: Kahkonen didn’t go out as far on a limb as Canadian head coach Justin Wadsworth did when he bribed his team towards podium finishes with the lure of a trip to Hawaii last year, but Kahkonen did tell the women that if any of them finished in the top ten, they could dye his hair any color they wanted.
The four women who made up the World Championships team did a little styling of their own, and showed off lighter pink highlights during their 11th-place relay performance.
Dyed hair is nothing unusual in skiing – internationally, Kikkan Randall keeps it pink, while on the U.S. college circuit the Dartmouth freshmen traditionally fashion green mohawks for boys and neon pink ‘dos for the girls; UNH skier Kevin Rose also sported a blue ‘hawk. But at least at this championship, the American team is pretty unique. Below, a lighthearted interview with the women and their coach.