Kikkan Randall is an American cross-country skier. She is the niece of former cross-country skiing Olympians Betsy Haines and Chris Haines.
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In 2008, I scored the first ever World Cup Victory for an American woman in cross-country and notched two more World Cup Top-tens to close the season ranked 15th in the world in sprint rankings.
Despite being diagnosed with a massive blood clot in my left leg in April 2008, I rebounded to win the first ever US women’s World Championship medal at the 2009 World Championships and made history again, when along with teammate Jessie Diggins, we won the first ever gold medal for the cross-country team at the World Championships in Val di Fiemme in 2013.
I can ride a unicycle, am a mom to a toddler and was born on New Years Even. Now, AMA!
Join us at reddit.com/user/TeamUSAOlympics for all Winter Olympic AMA's.
Is there really as much sex going on between athletes as what is reported?
Always an interesting topic eh?! I've never witnessed it but cross country skiers tend to be pretty focused during the games ;)
I heard pink hair gives unfair and advantage is there any truth to that? (Politely shoves mic in face)
Ha ha, nice one! The pink hair does definitely give an extra boost out there! But it also sometimes can ruin white hats ;)
Kikkan, got to meet you a few years back at the American Birkie. Thanks for doing this AMA. Good luck this season!
How has your training changed before this Olympics to prepare for the classic individual sprint?
The classic sprint is jus tone of the races I'm focusing on. I've been working hard on my classic striding technique and double pole power. But I'm really excited about the freestyle team sprint and the relay!
Hi Kikkan! What do you like on your pizza?
Canadian bacon and pineapple!
Thanks to everyone for all the great questions! I am off for my next training session! Go Team USA!
Have you seen the documentary Icarus and what do you make of the situation regarding allowing Russia to compete in any international sports competition, much less the Olympics, and do you actually believe that the IOC is anything more than a puppet of Global geopolotical financial self interest?
I have seen Icarus and it was an eye opening movie for sure. I believe in the power of clean sport and I think we are slowly making progress forward. Right now my focus is on being a role model for the younger generation to complete clean.
Hiya, hiya from Mpls!
Can you think of any specific drills you've done over the years that have helped improve your technique and build confidence attacking downhills / sharp downhill turns in particular?
Look forward to cheering you on during the Winter games!
The downhills are a great place to make up time on competitors and therefore has been a big focus of mine. I think growing up alpine skiing a lot helped with my confidence and feel for fast turns. I also like to practice downhills at full speed, even when I'm training easy and like to do it with my teammates if possible.
How any calories do you need each day during prime training? What's the best way to get the calories and what's for dinner?
Great question! During my biggest training days I am burning between 3,000-3,500 calories and I get to eat a lot! I've found the key is lots of snacks and small meals through out the day so that I never go more than 3 hours without eating. Keeps my energy consistent. One of my favorite dinners this summer was halibut taco bowls. I cooked the halibut on the grill with cajun seasoning and combined that with black beans, some brown rice, peppers, onions, spinach and avocado in a big bowl. topped with Salsa. Easy, full of good carbs and protein and delicious!
Kikkan I love watching you and all the other us ski team race! Any pre-race rituals?
As funny as it sounds folding my clothes and getting my room organized has always been a pre-race ritual for me. Now that I have a baby, my routine has expanded to washing out bottles and changing diapers as well!
What advice do you have for a U18 skier with Olympic dreams?
Your Olympic dream has never been more possible!! The US has the most confidence, training knowledge and best support system now that I've seen through my career. Pick out some challenging but doable short term goals to focus on in these next couple years to really get you going and then have the confidence that has you chase each higher step, you are getting closer to that Olympic dream!
Where is your favorite place in Alaska?
I was raised in Kodiak and my husband is from the interior, we both lightly argue about where is our favorite place in our home state.
This is a tough question because as you know, Alaska is an incredible, large and diverse place!! One of my favorite spots is down near Portage Lake at the far end of Turnagain Arm in the spring time. The snow firms up so hard that you can float on top with your skate skis. You can ski all the way over toward Prince William Sound and right up to Portage Glacier.
How difficult is it to combine it with your son? Is it sometimes difficult for your partner to support your busy schedule?
It's definitely a balancing act to be a full-time professional athlete and a mom to a toddler. I've found it more challenging in year two where my son is so much more active. The key has been being more disciplined with my recovery and relying a lot on my husband and my parents for support. Another key has been being more disciplined with my training time. Making the most of every minute because there are less minutes that I used to have. I am lucky to have amazing support.
Yes to tacos! Can you ever just eat like 5 donuts?
Donuts are my favorite reward food. I don't usually eat 5 in a row but a couple after a big training session are the best!
Is Holmenkollen the best place to race? or is it just somthing we Norwegian like to think?
Also congratz on having the coolest racing team in the world!
Racing in Holmenkollen is for sure one of the most exciting places to race. The noise, the fans and the hard courses really make you feel like you're competing on the big stage. We like to call it the "Super Bowl of Nordic Skiing"
How has your experience on the USST changed as you’ve gone from the only elite female skier on the team often alone on the World Cup to now acting as a leader to a large group of successful women? What is there left in your athletic career that you still want to accomplish other than an Olympic medal?
I can't believe how fast the last 17 years has gone by. I don't feel like I've changed that much but I am for sure the veteran now. I am a big team person and I love the camaraderie that we have developed on our team. The other girls push me and teach me as much as I do them, so it's constantly evolving!
One of my biggest goals is to help my team win an Olympic medal in the team sprint and 4x5km relay events!
Howdy! When do you find out if you will qualify for the team? Thanks for answering.
The Olympic team won't be officially announced until late January. However, if I am able to get a Top 8 result on World Cup or am consistently finishing in the Top 30 on World Cup, then I should have a good idea of how my chances are looking.
What do you think the future will hold for nordic skiing with climate change? How have racing venues changed over your career as a result of climate change?
Climate Change is one of the biggest threats to the future of nordic skiing. We are going to have to make progress towards combating climate change if our sport will remain long into the future. Already we've seen big changes in the reliability of natural snow and are competing on manmade snow more than half of the time. With the limitations and cost of manmade snow, laps have gotten shorter and terrain is not always optimal.
Do you have any single Olympian girlfriends that I can wife-up? I need athletic children
I will warn you that Olympian girlfriends come with a lot of work. They expect you to go to bed early, skip family vacations, come on 4 hour runs with them and be sympathetic when their workout didn't go as well as they wanted :)
If there were both a clean-olympics and a doped-olympics (to really push the boundaries of what the human body can achieve), how would steroids and/or other drugs affect your sport? Which winter olympics disciplines would not really be affected by doping?
Do you feel you have an unfair advantage, so to speak, over countries like australia by having more winter weather to train in?
I believe it's possible to be successful in my sport as a clean athlete and clean sport with a level playing field is the only way in which I would want to compete. We still have plenty of human potential to discover as clean athletes.
Different countries have different climate and cultural advantages and that is what makes the sports interesting I think. The Australians have to spend more time away from home than we do, but North Americans also face some challenges with a mostly-European race schedule.
What is your VO2max? :-)
I've done VO2Max tests about a dozen times but I never got told the actual number. My tests were always compared to previous tests. If I had to guess, I'm probably somewhere in the mid 60's. I think I have a pretty solid VO2Max but one of my biggest strengths is my ability to produce power under a high lactate load.
Hi Kikkan, race hard this winter! I’m curious about your experience racing around Europe with family in tow. Any unexpected challenges or pleasant surprises?
Great question! Traveling the world cup with a family has definitely come with some unique logistical challenge and high cost, but it's been totally worth it. I love how much quality time I get to spend with my family while on the road, with less business than being at home. We get to explore new places. And most importantly, win or lose I know my family is behind me!
Hello :) hope you're having a great week. Do you like pineapples on pizza?
I do like pineapples on my pizza!
What do you NOT like on your pizza?
I'm not a big fan of anchovies :)
Hi Kikkan, how do you take your coffee?
I really relish a daily morning Americano from my trusty ROCKET espresso machine!
Who has the best Hawaiian pizza in Anchorage?
My favorite artisan hawaiian pizza is at Bear Tooth, while my favorite traditional hawaiian pizza is Capones on Boniface.
Hi, Kikkan -
It was super fun doing food judging with you at the alaska state fair a few years ago with dave.
Have you kept up with your food critiquing as you travel around for your Olympic training? What's the best thing that you've had to eat during your training?
Hey there! Food judging was much more challenging than I thought and I was lucky to have some experts around to help me :) I have not done any official judging outside of Alaska but I have been fortunate to try some amazing cuisines around the world. The bread in Norway is pretty awesome. So simple and yet so good!
I wish these replies could include pics!
(or someone tell me how!!!)
Just started a canvas painting of you -- could I tag you in it on twitter?
Twitter works great! I'm @kikkanimal
I live a mile away and have never had Capones. We flipped a coin once and went with Amore's pizza, and it was so good we never went back.
Well now I guess I'll have to have a pizza tasting party. That is clearly the only solution here.
Sounds like a smart plan!
Hi, big fan of cross country and I'm really impressed by the US team! I have seen you race a few times in Falun!
What are your top three favorite locations to compete in outside of North America?
Good luck in winter!
I love competing in Norway, Sweden and Finland where the fans are so excited about cross-country skiing. I also love training and competing in Davos, Switzerland when there is good snow and endless tracks!