Kikkan Randall

Memories of 2018 PyeongChang Olympics still burn bright

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One year ago, the Olympic cauldron was lit at the 2018 PyeongChang Olympic Games. Despite the flame being extinguished, the memories of the Games remain seared in history.

Remember when Shaun White, the king of the Olympic snowboard halfpipe, made his return; throwing down back-to-back 1440’s, a double McTwist and a frontside 1260 on his way to the top of the podium?

Or when the effervescent Chloe Kim, then just 17 years old, won her first Olympic halfpipe gold medal, or Kikkan Randall and Jessie Diggins’ historic gold medal for U.S. cross-country skiing?

What about Mikaela Shiffrin’s gold in giant slalom, or Lindsey Vonn battling back to her second Olympics after missing Sochi in 2014 due to injury, to claim bronze in the downhill?

And who could forget the U.S.’ Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson’s “Oops, I did it again” shootout golden goal against Canada in the women’s hockey final, or when Mirai Nagasu’s triple axel not only helped the U.S. win figure skating team bronze, but pushed her sport past what was thought possible.

The highlights of the Games just keep coming; John Shuster and his team of “rejects” winning curling gold, Ester Ledecka, the Czech snowboarder who shocked everyone, herself included, to win Super-G gold and Nathan Chen, bouncing back from a disappointing short program, to perform the Olympic free skate of his life. While Chen’s teammate, Adam Rippon, used his grace on the ice and outspoken charisma off it to wrap the world around his finger.  

Look back at these moments and more from those 16 glorious days in South Korea as Olympians of a different sort continue to prepare as their time nears at the Games of the XXXII Olympiad next summer in Tokyo on the networks of NBC.

Kikkan Randall diagnosed with breast cancer, prognosis good

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Kikkan Randall, who helped the U.S. to its first Olympic cross-country skiing title in PyeongChang, was recently diagnosed with breast cancer.

“The color pink has taken on a new chapter in my life as I was recently diagnosed with breast cancer,” was posted on Randall’s social media and confirmed by U.S. Ski and Snowboard. “Although we caught it early and the prognosis is good, my life will change quite a bit in the coming months. I have returned to Anchorage for treatment at @providencealaska Cancer Center. It’s a scary thing to learn you have cancer and I have wondered every day since how this could have possibly happened to me. But I have promised myself that I will remain positive and active and determined throughout my treatment. I am going to bring as much tenacity, strength, and energy toward this challenge as I have throughout my entire career.

“I began my first round of chemo on Monday surrounded by great friends and family. I made to sure get a gym workout in beforehand, rode my bike to and from the hospital, and wore my happy shoes. I will be using my blog to keep everyone posted through my upcoming journey.”

Randall, a five-time Olympian, joined Jessie Diggins to win the team sprint in PyeongChang, ending the U.S. Olympic cross-country skiing title drought.

It also marked the second U.S. Olympic cross-country medal of any color and first in a women’s event. Bill Koch earned 30km silver at Innsbruck 1976.

Randall, a 35-year-old mom, retired after the PyeongChang Games.

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Jessie Diggins’ Tour de Ski history; Kikkan Randall’s 5th Olympics

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The U.S. cross-country team that has made so much history the last few years just made some more.

Jessie Diggins became the first American to finish the Tour de Ski on the podium on Sunday, third overall in the 12th annual edition of the World Cup stage race.

The U.S. Olympic cross-country team also grew with the conclusion of the Tour de Ski. Diggins, Sadie Bjornsen and Sophie Caldwell previously qualified for PyeongChang.

Now they’re joined by Kikkan Randall, a 35-year-old mom going to her fifth Olympics, and Liz Stephen and Rosie Brennan. And Sadie’s brother, Erik.

No U.S. woman has competed in five Winter Games, but Randall, snowboarder Kelly Clark and Alpine skier Julia Mancuso can do so next month.

A full list of U.S. athletes qualified for the Olympics across all sports is here.

The Tour de Ski is akin to the Tour de France, though it’s only a week long. It’s a test of all-around skiing with sprint and distance races in both classical and freestyle technique.

Diggins, 26, overcame a 10-second deficit to Finland’s Krista Parmakoski in the pursuit Sunday to grab the last podium spot.

Norway’s Heidi Weng overtook countrywoman Ingvild Flugstad Østberg to win the Tour de Ski for a second straight year.

Diggins capped a consistently strong Tour de Ski. She finished third, fourth, fifth and seventh among the first six stages leading into Sunday’s finale.

Diggins and Stephen shared the previous best overall Tour de Ski finish for an American — fifth.

Add this to Diggins’ groundbreaking accomplishments.

In 2013, she and Randall won the first U.S. world title (team sprint).

Last year, Diggins added two more medals to give her four total and become the most decorated American in world championships history.

Diggins is one of four U.S. women with a World Cup podium this season, along with Randall, Bjornsen and Caldwell.

They’re all seeking the second U.S. Olympic cross-country skiing medal in PyeongChang, 42 years after Bill Koch‘s 30km silver in Innsbruck.

Randall, the trailblazer for U.S. cross-country in the mid-2000s, took a break after Sochi to have son Breck in April 2016. She returned last season and won sprint bronze at worlds.

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