Kikkan Randall at NYC Gold Medal Gala
US Ski team member Kikkan Randall made a recent stop in New York City on her journey over to Europe for the start of the 2012/13 World Cup season. After her appearance at the 46th Annual NYC Gold Medal Gala, FIS caught up with the Sprint champion and she was kind enough to answer a few questions.
FIS: You were just in New York City for the USSA Gold Medal Gala. Is this the first time you have attend such an event, and what is the event’s purpose?
KR: This was my first time attending the NYC Gold Medal gala. I had been to a couple other Bay Area [San Fransico] US Ski Team fundraisers before but those were much more casual affairs. The purpose of these fundraisers are to raise funds for directly supporting all of USSA's National team athletes.
FIS: You along with Alpine racers Bode Miller and Lindsey Vonn were the evening’s “special guests”. Both Miller and Vonn are giants within their sport. What was it like for you to share the same spotlight, in particular as a Cross Country athlete?
KR: It was quite an honor to accompany Bode and Lindsey on the stage as they are the biggest stars in American skiing. This was a huge step forward in terms of visibility and respect for Cross Country, and after so many years in the background it's great to finally get the chance showcase what our team has accomplished.
FIS: Each week Americans can tune in to watch Alpine racing on television, where as with XC racing fans often have to rely on internet coverage, or post race recaps. It must be a big deal for a Nordic athlete to be recognized amongst such a crowd. Might we see Cross Country skiing on television down the road?
K.R.: Cross country has been one of the best keep secret in America and now it's time to let the cat out of the bag!! Americans like to see Americans win, and now that we've proven we can be the best in the world, people are starting to pay attention!! We finally have exciting race formats that Americans can relate to and the potential for recruiting new audiences is higher than it’s ever been. NBC has promised more Nordic coverage at the Sochi Olympics and it’s my goal to continue to provide thrilling performances that can't be ignored.
FIS: There were many US Winter Olympic champions in the room. Did you get a chance to mingle with them, and were there any in particular that you were excited to meet?
KR: 1994 Olympic downhill gold medalist Tommy Moe was a hero of mine growing up and I had the chance to meet him at the gala. I got to joke with him that I still have a T-shirt in the back of my closet that he signed for me when I was 12 years old!! I also had the pleasure of being interviewed by Jonny Moseley whose voice I had just overheard narrating the latest Warren Miller ski film "Flow State" at Sunday night's premier in Anchorage. Pretty fun to be rubbing elbows with some icons in American ski history!
FIS: What do you take away from an event like this?
KR: Especially as we're now just weeks away from the start of the World Cup season, it's really inspiring to feel the support and enthusiasm for our US team in such an exciting and big time place as New York City! People are really rooting for us and I was psyched to recruit some new fans for the cross-country team.
FIS: As you mentioned the start of the World Cup is just a few weeks away. Will you be heading to Europe for the start of the season?
KR: New York City was the first stop along my five-month stint away from home this winter. From here I make a quick stop in Chicago and then head on to Europe to get ready for the start of the season. I'm excited to get things going!
FIS: How has your recovery from the stress fracture gone?
KR: Recovery from the stress fracture has gone about as well as could be expected so far, but it's still been a very gradual return to normal training. I've spent the last two months doing a lot of alternative training and have only reintroduced skiing in the last couple weeks. It's going to take me a while to race into shape and I'm going to have to be patient with my progress.
FIS: Thanks for your time and good luck this season.