By Liz KriegerFeb 22, 2018
Photo: via Twitter/@kikkanimal
If you ask us, the fact that there is only one mother representing the US in this winter's Olympic Games is sort of strange. After all, some of the skills that are required to be a world-class athlete (like the ability to multi-task, persistence through all manner of ups and downs, a tolerance for some amount of pain) all sound oddly like qualities you need to be a mom.
Nevertheless, there's only one mother competing in the Winter Olympic Games in PyeongChang, and she just earned a gold medal. Kikkan Randall, 35, won gold in cross-country skiing, a sport known for extreme speed and need for total coordination. Along with teammate Jessie Diggins, she won top place in the team sprint freestyle race on Wednesday, Feb 21.
Randall, whose hometown is the snowy Anchorage, Alaska, became a mother 22 months ago, with the arrival of her son, Breck. The timing of her pregnancy—between two Olympics and in a non-World Cup year— was hardly a coincidence. Though she did have to sit out one season of training while pregnant with him, she told The Washington Post.
She took about three weeks off after her son's birth to "really take a chill," but then got back to training, bringing the tot along in a jogger for hikes and runs, and pumping milk between workouts.
Before the Games began, Randall detailed what it took for her to get to Korea to compete in an essay for Time. In it, she reflected on how she keeps her eyes both on the prize—and on her precious gift that's waiting at home: "While the goals are as big as they’ve ever been, I have all the experience I’ve gained to remind me to focus on the small things I can control right in front of me. I know that what’s most important is to get my best effort out of myself, and that, win or lose, I have a smiling little boy that will be happy to see me."
Check out the moment this mom clinched gold and gave everyone (including the commentator) the excitement of pure patriotism.
This is what history looks and sounds like. @jessdiggs and @kikkanimal win @TeamUSA's first ever gold medal in cross-country skiing.You'll want your sound up for this... pic.twitter.com/86PQ4KQaH3 — NBC Olympics (@NBCOlympics) February 21, 2018