Cross-Country Talk: Kikkan Randall (USA)
FIS Cross-Country caught up with World Cup sprint champion Kikkan Randall (USA) on the eve of the start of the FIS Conference taking place in Dubrovnik, Croatia. Randall is present in Dubrovnik for her role as the Athlete Representative for Cross-Country within the FIS Athlete Commission.
FIS: We are here in Dubrovnik for the semi-annual FIS meetings. You were recently re-elected as the female athlete representative for Cross-Country. It was 4 years ago in 2009 when you first attended one of these meeting that just happened to be in Dubrovnik as well. Looking back over those 4 years do you return to this location with positive feelings from your role as a Cross-Country Athlete rep?
KR: You know being back here in Dubrovnik really helps me reflect on the past four years. When I arrived the first time in Dubrovnik I really didn't know what I was doing, and now 4 years later I know the ropes much better and have built what I feel is a solid platform for me to be able to represent the needs of the athletes.
FIS: Anything that has surprised you in your role as Athlete Rep in terms of what is important to the athletes or getting an inside look at how FIS works?
KR: I remember initially being surprised at how little the athletes had been involved in the process given what big stakeholders the athletes are. I felt early on it was important to get my foot in the door, but also sit back and learn how decisions are made at the FIS level, and perhaps most importantly learning the best pathways of communication.
FIS: During your first term as athlete rep you were partnered with Sami Jauhojärvi of Finland. What were your first moves to build influence within FIS on behalf of the athletes?
KR: Working with Sami we developed a network and a way of getting feedback from the athletes and presenting it in a manageable form for the the FIS Cross-Country committee. Over those 4 years the process has become more refined and we now have an established pathway to make aware the needs and the concerns of the athletes heard.
FIS: As a result of your work on behalf of the athletes, you now have a voting right at the table of the FIS Cross-Country committee. That is a first time for such a right for athlete representatives within FIS.
KR: I think that is one of the biggest accomplishments that Sami and I have achieved over the past four years. It's huge for us. We really took the lead from the IOC Athlete Commission, where they have representation at the highest level on their Executive Board.
FIS: What is on the agenda for you this year?
KR: We had a very productive athlete's survey that focused on a few things on the calendar. As the calendar for next season and the season's beyond we will be able to provide clear and directed feedback on what competitions and formats that the athletes would like to see. Also I will continue to work to improve little things like athlete areas, prize money payment. These are small details but this is a great time to bring attention to those items here at the meetings. It's also important that I also take back what I learn here and present it to the athletes.
FIS: Aside from the FIS meetings, how is your training going in the new year?
KR: Our US competition season continued about 2 weeks longer than usual this year, so it feel likes it has been a quick turnaround since my season ended but I have been back training again for 3 weeks now. I am being cautious so far to make sure none of the foot trouble I had last season resurfaces. It's been a good start and enthusiasm is high with it being an Olympic year. I am hoping to be able to get a few little training sessions here while in Croatia.
FIS: You are coming off of your most successful competition year ever. You were injured for the final couple of months of the training year. With it being an Olympic year and being cautious of past injuries do you change anything or just stay with your normal plan?
KR: I learned a lot last year. Having the stress fracture injury really taught me a good lesson that a bit of rest here and there is a good thing. I have really learned over the past couple of years that what I am doing is working so no major changes are needed. It's important to train well but also make sure that I look after my body.