Athlete in interview – Kikkan Randall

23 May 2012 10:55
Kikkan Randall at Maui
Kikkan Randall at Maui -

USA's Kikkan Randall wrote history last season as she claimed the small crystal globe for the Sprint World Cup winner. The Alaskan skier led the USA squad to one of the best seasons ever. FIS Cross-Country News talked to the smiling fastest lady on the World Cup circuit about homecoming after the season, training at Hawaii and agenda for the FIS Congress 2012.

Q: Kikkan, you won the crystal globe for the first time in your career. How was the homecoming like? Did you have a special welcome party?

Kikkan Randall: The homecoming was spectacular. Everywhere I went people were stopping me to say congratulations. I spent the first week after my final race of the season in New York City, visiting my brother and attending some media interviews. We did a photo shoot with the crystal globe in Times Square, which was really fun. I'm pretty sure most of the people around had no idea why someone was walking around with a giant hunk of crystal!

When I got back to my hometown, the Nordic Ski Association of Anchorage hosted a Welcome Home parade and celebration and I got to ride into our Nordic stadium on a giant Pisten Bully while my club teammates skied ahead of me. It was very cool to be able to share this accomplishment with my community!!

Q: Like last year you and your husband went to Hawaii. How was it?

K.R.: Spending some time in Maui after chasing winter around all season is my favorite way to relax, recover and recharge for the new season. To just be wearing a swimsuit, shorts and flip-flops is such a good feeling!! My husband and I like to ride bikes and the rides there are so fun. I did meet up with Julia Mancuso for a ride up the big volcano Haleakala. I think we covered about 5,000 ft. of elevation. It's always fun to compare our two different worlds!

Q: First days of May are traditionally the time when athletes start preparation for the new season. What have you been doing before the Congress?

K.R.: I spent the first two weeks of May in Alaska training with my club team. We still had plenty of snow left in the mountains so we did a lot of skiing the first week and then added in some more running, biking and roller skiing the next week. After taking a break in the spring it's always exciting to get back to training. The first week you are very fresh and then by the second week everything catches up and you remember how hard training feels!! Now I am in Bend, Oregon with my US teammates. We will be skiing for 10 days until I head to Korea for the FIS meetings.

Q: What are your training plans for the spring/summer?

K.R.: We're going to have our 2nd annual "North American Women's Training Alliance" (NAWTA) training camp in Alaska in the end of June and we are excited to have a special European guest this year, Aino-Kaisa Saarinen. In July I am looking forward to coming to Norway for the Blink Festival races in Sandnes and then our US women's team will be joining the Swedish women's team for a joint camp in Torsby in early August. It's going to be a fun summer!

Q: You are the female athletes representative. How is the cooperation with athletes? Do you get the feedback you need?

K.R.: The cooperation with the athletes has been fantastic. I have been in the role of athlete representative for four years now and every year I get to know more athletes and we are able to collect more feedback. Sami and I had two great meetings with the athletes during the season. Once we determined the main issues, we utilized our growing email list and facebook page to encourage the athletes to take a survey. The survey then helps me when I get to the FIS meetings so I can give very clear and supported feedback to the Cross-Country and World Cup Committees.

Q: What is your agenda for Korea? What would you like to change?

K.R.: The biggest agenda from the athletes for Korea is a proposal to change the prize money distribution in multi-stage events. This was an issue that came from the athletes the previous season and we have been able to come up with a distribution that the athletes support.

The other main issues include a few changes to some of the event formats on the World Cup calendar and better athlete areas at all World Cup venues.

Q: You have been representing athletes for four years now. Looking back, which decision, influenced by the Athletes Commission, are you happy about?

K.R.: Last year, the Athletes Commission helped create a clear process for athletes to be able to bring their concerns about safety conditions to the Jury at World Cup events, so that they can be sure they are heard and taken seriously. I was very satisfied with this accomplishment of the AC because it was applicable to all disciplines and it showed that we could successfully identify an issue that was important for athletes and we were able to affect an actual change in a timely manner.

I have also been very satisfied with the progress the Athlete Commission has made over the last few years. Initially we all had to learn the processes at FIS and what our role would be within the various meetings. We have all established strong relationships with our respective committees now and both FIS and the AC are seeing how important it is to have athletes involved.