Kikkan Randall wins silver at season-opening cross-country event

Kikkan Randall

Three-time Olympian Kikkan Randall made the podium of a classic-style sprint race for the first time, winning silver in Kuusamo, Finland, on Friday.

Randall, 30, came in second behind Olympic champion Justyna Kowalczyk of Poland, trailing by 1.69 seconds in a 1.4-kilometer race. German Denise Herrmann took bronze.

Randall, the two-time reigning World Cup sprint champion, is a medal favorite in the Olympic sprint, which is done in the free technique, not classic. No American woman has ever won an Olympic cross-country skiing medal.

“I have always wanted to improve my classic sprint skiing, I have done lot of that this summer,” Randall said, according to the International Ski Federation. “I’m happy that I have been healthy, have had a really good summer in training.”

Seven-time Olympic medalist Marit Bjoergen of Norway was 14th. Among Americans, Ida Sargent was 16th and Sadie Bjornsen was 26th.

Two-time U.S. Olympian Andy Newell was 24th in the men’s race won by Norwegian Eirik Brandsdal.

The Kuusamo World Cup stop continues with men’s and women’s races Saturday and Sunday.

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