FIS Cross-Country Interview with Kikkan Randall
You have been the female athlete representative on the FIS Athlete Commission now since 2009 and have been attending the annual June FIS meetings. This year it was a new experience for you. With the birth of your son Breck in April you stayed home in Anchorage. How was it to Skype in to the committee discussions?
It was a hard decision to not attend the meetings in person in Cancun but I was at least happy to be a part of the meeting via Skype. I was able to hear all of the presentations and discussions and provide a few comments through my husband who was present at the meetings. I missed being able to see everyone in the cross-country family, but it was incredible how familiar it felt just to hear everyone’s voices. Due to the time change from Cancun to Alaska (3 hours behind), I had to get up quite early to call in to the meetings.
You produce an athlete survey at the end of each season. What were some of the major issues/concerns for the athletes?
The athlete survey is a huge resource for me to be able to present specific points of feedback from the athletes. This year I had 87 responses from 12 countries so I felt I had a good representation of the World Cup field. The big points from the athlete survey were:
1) Information regarding the most favored race formats was quite interesting. Sprint was the most popular followed by interval start, mass start, relay, pursuit, Skiathlon and team sprint. Skiathlon was still considered important for Championships. Relays are of high priority. Ladies and men DO NOT want to race the same distances.
2) Double poling is seen as an evolution of the sport and athletes would be in favor of only hosting classic races when they can be held on proper courses. For sprints, making courses harder to prevent double poling should only be allowed to happen if the course stays under 3.5 minutes.
3) Athletes would like to see a reduction in bonus seconds available in distance races during stage events.
4) Athletes are in favor of changing the distribution of prize money to pay to Top 20 instead of just Top 10. We have not put together an official proposal yet, but will be working on a proposal to potentially present at the fall meetings.
Did any responses surprise you?
I found it interesting that 80% of the athletes wanted FIS to maintain a 50-50 split between skate and classic events yet they were agreeable to only hosting classic races on courses that support proper classic technique. It will be a challenge for the Cross-Country Committee to achieve both goals and it proves to me how important it is for athletes to understand the whole picture.
I was surprised at how unanimous it was that ladies and men DO NOT want to race the same distances.
How are you adjusting to your new role as mother-athlete?
I am absolutely loving my new role as a mom and I’m so grateful that I get to continue pursuing my skiing goals along with this new part of my life. It’s only been a couple of months and I’m still building my way back to full strength but I love the mix of spending time with my son and still getting time to focus on training. It’s taking patience to let my body heal properly and build back. The break from racing has been really good for reigniting my motivation and desire to race again.
Have you begun training again?
I have started to build back into training but I am taking it cautiously. I thought pregnancy was going to be the hard part but my body has changed a lot being so stretched out and I need to take time and effort to bring my core back to full strength. Roller skiing and biking have felt really good. Running is taking a slower approach.
It’s been well documented that we have a baby boom in Cross-Country Skiing this past year. Have you been in contact with any of the other new mothers?
I have been in touch with Katja, Marit and Aino-Kaisa. It’s so fun that there are several of us going through the same adventure together. It’s been nice that Katja and Marit are a few months ahead of me, they have been very helpful with advice and setting a good example. Aino-Kaisa and I have been sharing training ideas and pictures quite a bit since our babies are close in age. I’m really looking forward to all the moms and babies meeting up with winter!
How will you approach the upcoming World Cup season?
I am taking my time this summer to build back into training in a healthy way so I’m a little bit behind on my normal preparation schedule. I hope to be in good enough shape to start the World Cup season in November. My biggest goal will be the World Championships in Lahti.