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Four cool things about Kikkan Randall

Beth Bragg
Erik Hill

Four cool things about four-time Olympian Kikkan Randall:

1) Kikkan the advocate

As an eighth-grader at Wendler Junior High, Kikkan Randall was angry when the Anchorage School District eliminated junior high interscholastic sports in favor of intramurals, meaning no more competition between schools.

So she helped form Young Adults Taking Action, which took its complaints to the school board. By the time Randall & Co. were done, junior high kids had it better than ever before -- the district added seven interscholastic sports while retaining the intramural program.

"I think this turns out better than what we had the previous year, before they changed it," Randall said. "The kids who didn't think they could participate (in interscholastic sports) are now getting the chance to participate. And now, the kids who want the higher competition can get it.''

2) Kikkan the sportswoman

At the 1999 region ski championships at Kincaid Park, Randall and her East High teammates did the unthinkable -- they gave their championship trophy to Service High.

A jury had disqualified Service from the relay race because of a tag that was ruled illegal, a decision that cost the Cougars the team title as well as the relay victory. East became the winners of both.

After the T-birds accepted their relay medals and their giant team trophy at the awards ceremony, Randall, a 16-year-old sophomore, asked the Service girls to join them. Each of East's four relay skiers gave her medal to one of the four Service relay skiers. Then Randall gave the team trophy to her best friend, Service's Tara Hamilton.

"We knew they deserved it," Randall said. "They won fair and square. If they were first across the finish line, they deserve it.''

3) Kikkan the natural

Randall comes from a long line of elite athletes. Betsy Haines, her aunt, skied in the 1980 Winter Olympics and still owns the Alaska state high school record in the mile. Chris Haines, her uncle, was a member of the U.S. Ski Team.

Her mom, Deborah Randall, and Betsy are both former Mount Marathon champions (as is Randall). Her dad, Ronn Randall, used to work for the city's Parks and Recreation Department as an adventure and fitness specialist.

Her late grandfather, Lew Haines, was once the athletic director at UAA and was an outdoors enthusiast whose love of sport inspired two generations, with maybe more to come.

4) Kikkan the fashionista

Before she had pink hair, Randall had red, white and blue teeth.

Randall wore braces while in high school and had them fitted in school colors -- the red and blue of the East High Thunderbirds.

 


By BETH BRAGG
bbragg@adn.com