"I feel like I'm a kid waiting for Christmas -- the big day is coming up."
ANCHORAGE – It may be Kikkan Randall’s year.
“Someone told me when I was younger it was going to take at least 10 years to develop into a top-level cross-country skier, it really is true, it takes that many years of training and racing,” Randall said in a recent Skype interview.
Randall is currently competing in the World Cup Championships, taking place in Europe, that will race up until a week before the 2014 Sochi Games in February.
“In Sochi I have a shot at an individual medal, possibly some team medals,” she said. “I feel like I’m a kid waiting for Christmas — the big day is coming up.”
It is a big day that was recently overshadowed by violence in Russia. On Dec. 30, 2013, two suicide bombings took place hundreds of miles away from Sochi, and concern is elevated internationally for athlete and spectator safety. Randall offered some perspective and confidence in the host country.
“For me, the benefit of having been to three Olympics already, I’ve gotten to see firsthand how well these countries prepare and really keep safety of the athletes as the top priority,” Randall said. “I feel pretty comfortable that Russia is doing everything they can to make sure athletes and spectators are safe. Right now all I can really be focused on is getting myself as prepared as possible.”
In 2002, just months after the 9-11, she was 19 years old and competing in her first Olympic Games which were held in Salt Lake City.
“There was a lot of concern then,” she said. “So you just got to stay focused on positive things, that’s what the Olympics are all about. It’s putting politics aside and celebrating the good things in life. I hope Sochi can go off with great competition and everyone can stay safe.”
Randall’s preparations for the Olympics will keep her in Switzerland and Italy. She’ll travel with the U.S. Olympic Ski Team to Sochi. Randall won’t be home in Anchorage, Alaska, until mid-March.