Kikkan Randall

Norway’s Bjoergen wins ladies’ 10km at Toblach; USA’s Randall finishes 15th

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Norway’s Marit Bjoergen claimed victory in the ladies’ 10km classic during today’s FIS World Cup cross-country skiing event at Toblach, Italy, while Olympic medal threat Kikkan Randall (pictured) of the U.S. finished 15th as she tuned up for Sochi.

Elizabeth Stephen was the top American finisher in the race, coming home just outside the Top 10 in 11th place. Two more Americans finished in the Top 20, with Sadie Bjornsen in 17th and Ida Sargent in 20th.

The U.S. cross-country team has just completed a week-long training session in Italy, and Randall said in a U.S. team release that the session “went exactly as we had planned.”

“It was great to get back to racing today after another training break,” she said about today’s proceedings. “I haven’t done so much distance racing since Christmas, so it’s taking a little bit to get the feeling back…Today’s race was a great effort to kick my body back into race gear and I’m looking forward to another skate sprint tomorrow.”

Those sprint events on Sunday will serve as the final races for the team before heading off to Sochi for the Olympics.

Randall leads the way for the team, as she aims to become the first U.S. woman to win a cross-country medal and the first American, man or woman, to win cross-country gold.

To do that, she may have to go through Bjoergen, who is the defending Olympic champion in the individual sprint and is a seven-time Olympic medalist overall.

Bjoergen is also aiming for big things in Sochi, as she looks to close in on fellow Norwegian and 12-time Olympic medalist Bjorn Daehlie in her bid to become the most decorated Winter Olympian ever.

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President Obama to female Olympians: ‘Y’all crushed it’ (video)

WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 29:  U.S. President Barack Obam (R) is presented with a Team USA surfboard by Olympian Simone Biles (2nd L) as first lady Michelle Obama (L) looks on during an East Room event at the White House September 29, 2016 in Washington, DC. President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama welcome the 2016 U.S. Olympic and Paralympic teams to the White House to honor their participation and success in the Rio Olympic Games this year.  (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
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President Barack Obama hosted the 2016 U.S. Olympic and Paralympic teams at the White House on Thursday.

Obama opened his speech by saying that he had planned on doing a floor routine with Simone Biles, before ultimately deciding that the room was too crowded. First Lady Michelle Obama interjected to remind the crowd that her husband “can’t touch his toes.”

The President then singled out the athletic accomplishments of Olympians including Biles, Michelle Carter, Simone Manuel, Claressa Shields, Kristin Armstrong, Kim Rhode, Allyson Felix, Brianna Rollins, Nia Ali, Kristi Castlin, Katie Ledecky, Michael Phelps and the men’s and women’s basketball teams.

He also recognized: Ibtihaj Muhammad, the first American to compete in the Olympics wearing a hijab, Sam Kendricks, the U.S. Army reservist who put down his pole and stood at attention when the national anthem started playing, Will Claye, who proposed to U.S. hurdler Queen Harrison after winning an Olympic silver medal, and Abbey D’Agostino, who helped an opponent to her feet after a crash.

“That is exactly what the Olympic spirit and the American spirit should be all about,” Obama said about the sportsmanship of D’Agostino.

The President was particularly enthusiastic about the performance of the female athletes.

“2016 belonged to America’s women Olympians,” Obama said. “Y’all crushed it.”

Watch Obama’s full speech here.

After Obama’s speech, Biles presented him with a surfboard autographed by the Olympians in attendance.

“I’m going to have a lot of time to surf next year,” Obama said.

MORE: Photos of Team USA at the White House

Photos: Team USA at the White House

Twitter: @TeamUSA
Twitter: @TeamUSA
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President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama hosted the 2016 U.S. Olympic and Paralympic teams at the White House on Thursday.

Below are some of the best photos of Team USA from inside the White House: