Anyone with doubt that the girls can keep up with the boys is sorely mistaken. Alaska’s female athlete Kikkan Randall has shown her dominance in her discipline. As the first American woman ever to break into the top three overall in the FIS Cross Country World Cup, Kikkan Randall has made her mark in the history books. The only other American who accomplished this feat was Bill Koch who claimed the title in 1982 and finished 3rd overall in 1983.
Kikkan Randall earns a top 3 finish overall | Photo: Getty Images/AFP/Jonathan Nackstrand
Not to mention, Randall grabbed her second consecutive World Cup sprint title from last week and also placed 10th in the distance standings.
Women’s U.S. Ski Team Coach, Matt Whitcomb commented on Randall’s performance, “It’s unbelievable. It’s so cool that she had both distance and sprint podiums and be able to finish it with what’s rumored to be a podium time today [it was]. It’s just a great way to finish it, having one of her strongest races and performances to complement the other great results.”
As the final race of the FIS Cross Country World Cup, Kikkan made a promising finish to the season. After Sunday’s Falun 10k freestyle pursuit, Randall’s 7th place standing from the fourth stage of the mini-tour solidified her into the number 3 spot, overall. Previously ranked 5th overall last year, Randall is rising to perfection.
Kikkan Randall in action | Photo: The Ski Channel
During Sunday’s race, Kikkan Randall started 15th, 2:52 behind the leader Marit Bjoergen of Norway, who took the title. Only needing to keep 15th to guarantee a 3rd overall position was conquered by Randall who easily made her way up the course to finish with the day’s second fastest time behind Norwegian Therese Johaug, who finished second.
American team rider Liz Stephen, stayed strong in the pack with a 16th place finish. Jessie Diggins and Holly Brooks finished 26th and 27th respectively. Stephen showed improvement as she grabbed 20th in cross country overall and 15th in distance standings since last year’s 42nd overall and 28th in distance. Amongst the other American athletes, Kikkan Randall contributed to one of the strongest seasons ever for the U.S. team.