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Q&A with Kikkan Randall

Wed, Feb  13, 2008 - By US Ski Team

Kikkan Randall (Anchorage, AK) made U.S. cross country history when she became the nation's first woman to win a cross country World Cup. In the 27-year-history of World Cup cross country, no U.S. woman had ever won. Of course, her pioneering success came after she became the first U.S. woman in a cross country top-five in March 2006 and the first U.S. woman to reach a cross country podium in Jan. 2007. Through all her success, Randall has managed to keep a level head, plan a wedding, and ride a unicycle while giving the occasional school presentation.

Kikkan Randall celebrates her win in Rybinsk. (AP)
You are the first U.S. woman to win a World Cup in cross country. How does it feel to be that woman?
It's pretty cool. It's hard to put into words. For me it was a personal goal and it was really cool to see the impact it had on people and the sport.

What drove you in your pursuit of the win?
I had a taste last year when I got a podium and I was skiing with the top athletes and realized that my skiing had come up to that level.

Did you up your training or change anything when you were trying to get the win?

I worked really hard on improving my fitness through the summer and fall. I didn't do anything drastic but I did put myself in a position to be able to win a World Cup.

So, you're getting married soon, right?
Yes, I'm getting married in May in Alaska.

How do you have time to win a World Cup and plan a wedding?

I got engaged in August so I had some time when I was home to check out some venues and start planning. I tried to get the big things done before the season started. I've been doing the rest through email and my mom is helping me out a lot. I'm sure when I get home it's going to be a mad whirlwind trying to finish up everything.

Do you get stressed thinking about what you still have to plan when you're competing?
It's kind of been cool to have a distraction because skiing will have ups and downs, so I have something to look forward to.

What are your wedding colors?

Pink and platinum.

So, we hear you can ride a unicycle. Care to share how that came about?

When I was in junior high I was hanging out at one of my friend's houses and they had one so we pulled it out of the garage and blew the dust off. For the first day it was all getting off and falling off until finally a balance point clicked. That summer I got really into it so my grandma bought me a unicycle and it's one of those things that once you learn you never forget. I ride it into school presentations that I make. It keeps the kids entertained.

You say you're a big music fan. How does it help you in competition?
Before and after it's huge. You psych yourself up when you need to rev the engine and also when you need to mellow out. I find that on sprint days when there's a two-hour break between the qualifier round and the heat I just use mellow music at first. Then I ramp it up when I need an extra burst of high energy. It's definitely part of what I do.