The U.S Cross Country Ski Team kicked the 2012/2013 off right with stellar performances at the FIS Cross Country World Cup season opener in Gaellivare, Sweden. Kikkan Randall, the defending sprint champion, took third in the 10k freestyle race, proving she is capable of branching out to achieve her very first non-sprint podium! Teammate Holly Brooks finished the day in fifth place, which is a career best, while Norwegian Marit Bjoergen won the day.
Holly Brooks (Anchorage) had a career best fifth. Norway’s Marit Bjoergen took the women’s win while countryman Martin Johnsrud Sundby took the men’s. The U.S. women are expected to be contenders in a 4x5k team event Sunday.
When asked how she was feeling about today’s race, Brook replied, “I’m pumped! And that’s probably an understatement! Most everyone ahead of me has an Olympic gold medal to their name so that’s quite unreal (three of top four were Olympic champions)!”
Apparently, making it onto the podium was a huge surprise for Kikkan Randall. She had originally approached today’s race as an opportunity to “work out”, that is, until her coach informed her that she was two kilometers away from being a podium contender.
After the race, Kikkan Randall, explained, “Today was a very pleasant surprise. Today I just wanted to go out and really focus on getting a really hard workout. Wow, this is something I’ve wanted to do sometime in my career. I definitely did not expect to be here this early.
She went on to say, “I’m really psyched the team skied so well today. We have a relay coming up tomorrow and that’s one of our big goals of the season. The American team is definitely being noticed.”
The U.S. women are expected to be contenders on Sunday, with a 4×7.5k for men and 4x5k for women.
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