Appeal rejected; Kikkan keeps medal

December 16, 2010 

Kikkan Randall gets to keep her most recent World Cup medal.

The International Ski Federation (FIS) rejected Poland's appeal of a decision that vaulted Randall from fourth place to the medals stand in Sunday's cross-country sprint race in Davos, Switzerland. The Anchorage woman benefitted when the race jury ruled that Poland's Justyna Kowalczyk obstructed her during the final 100 meters of the race.

On Wednesday, the FIS Appeals Commission confirmed the jury's decision to disqualify Kowalczyk, who crossed the finish line in third place, just ahead of Randall. The appeals commission based its decision on video of the race, which shows Kowalczyk changing lanes and forcing Randall nearly into the fencing.

"Whew," Randall wrote on her blog.

The ruling lets Randall, 27, keep the bronze medal she was awarded after the race jury almost immediately disqualified Kowalczyk. And that lets Randall make a little more history.

The medal was her fifth on the World Cup circuit and sixth counting the silver medal she won at the 2009 World Championships. No other American woman boasts either a World Championship medal or a single World Cup medal, so every time Randall makes the World Cup podium, she is making history.

This is her first medal that came amid conflict, however.

Randall said her initial reaction after the race was disappointment and disbelief. She thought she was on her way to a medal, only to see it slip away when Kowalczyk's move pushed her off her line and slowed her down.

"Next time I'll just have to put myself in a better position coming into the finish," she said she told herself.

In no time, Randall started hearing hearing questions about Kowalczyk's maneuver. Within minutes, race officials told her Kowalcyzk was guilty of obstruction and would forfeit her third-place finish, making room for Randall on the podium.

Not too much longer after that, Randall heard about Poland's protest. That put her third-place finish in limbo, but there was nothing Randall could do but wait.

She busied herself making plans for a nice holiday break. Although she originally intended to race in another World Cup this weekend in France, she decided to stay in Davos and get healthy, because she's fighting an illness that struck after a long, draining day Sunday.

"My husband will be here in a few days," Randall wrote, "and with a successful few weeks of racing under my belt, I can now take a little break and enjoy the Christmas holiday."


Find Beth Bragg online at adn.com/contact/bbragg or call 257-4335.

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