Considered a gold medal contender going into today’s cross-country individual sprint, Kikkan Randall has come up empty-handed.
The American World Cup sprint champion got a tough draw for her quarterfinal heat, which included not one but two of her biggest rivals for sprint gold in Norway’s Marit Bjorgen and Germany’s Denise Herrmann.
Randall was able to charge to the front of the heat, but then fell back late and finished a disappointing fourth behind Herrmann, Bjorgen and Italy’s Gaia Vuerich.
Herrmann and Bjorgen automatically advanced out as the top two finishers in the heat, and Randall failed to be one of the two “lucky losers” – the two fastest third or fourth-place finishers – that also go to the next round.
She lost out on a “lucky loser” spot by a mere five one-hundredths of a second to Vuerich.
Sochi marks Randall’s fourth Olympics and she was hoping to become the first American woman to win an Olympic medal and the first American man or woman to win cross-country gold.
Instead, her teammate, Sophie Caldwell, will look to get that chance after she advanced into the semis. She is the lone American in that round, after Randall, along with Ida Sargent and Jessie Diggins, were unable to move on.
One of Randall’s teammates, Holly Brooks, reacted to Randall’s early defeat on Twitter: