20 YEARS AGO TODAY
On this day in 1994, Alaska's Tommy Moe celebrated his 24th birthday winning his second medal at the Winter Olympics in Lillehammer, Norway.
Today he's 44.
Moe made the cover of Sports Illustrated for capturing the gold medal in the men's downhill race at Lillehammer, and then a couple of days later claimed silver in the super-G. When he finished his run, a crowd of 30,000 spectators sang "Happy Birthday" to him, and later that day, CBS -- the network covering the Games back then -- gave him a birthday cake.
These days Moe lives near Jackson, Wyo., where he and wife Megan Gerety, a two-time Olympic skier from Anchorage, are raising two children. He works as a ski ambassador for Jackson Hole, giving private lessons and guided tours, and she is a schoolteacher.
Summers bring Moe back to Alaska, where he is a partner and co-founder of the Tordrillo Mountain Lodge, which offers heli-skiing, heli-fishing and other outdoors activities.
30-K TESTS BROOKS, RANDALL
A long Winter Olympics came to an end Saturday, competitively speaking, for Anchorage's Kikkan Randall.
Randall and her Alaska Pacific University teammate Holly Brooks were among three Americans in the top 30 in the women's 30-kilometer freestyle. Team USA was shooting for better -- Liz Stephen of Vermont, who led the team in 24th place, was especially hoping for much better.
The Americans opted at the 10-K mark to switch to skis prepared for softer conditions, a decision they regretted. The Norwegians, who chose not to switch skis, claimed all three spots on the victory podium.
"I felt really good. I'm just kicking myself for switching skis. That was a disaster," Brooks told fasterskier.com.
The U.S. coaching staff made the decision to swap skis before race, anticipating the course would soften, according to a report from the U.S. Ski Team. But the snow remained firm, and skiers who did not exchange skis pulled away from those who did.
Stephen, Randall and Brooks stayed with the lead pack for the first eight or nine kilometers, but once they switched skis, they lost contact with the leaders and never made up the ground.
"I had really great skis on the first lap," Randall said. "So I thought, well, should I? But we said, it's going to be important. So I went ahead and changed, and then wanted to get back on my best pair at the end. It wasn't as slow as we thought out there.
Stephen and Randall switched back to their original skis at the 20-K mark, but it didn't much matter.
The race was the last women's cross-country ski race in Sochi. The last men's race is Sunday's 50-K men's race. But the season doesn't end for Randall, Brooks and the others when the Olympic flame goes out -- there's nearly a month of World Cup racing left, plus two national championship races that will be held at Kincaid Park in late March.
"It'll be fun now to watch the boys give it their all tomorrow, and then the closing ceremonies, and then we have three more weeks of the World Cup," Randall said.
IN OTHER NEWS...
Saturday was the American Birkebeiner in Hayward, Wis., where many skiers who didn't make the Olympic team gathered for the marathon 50-K skate and 54-K classic races.
Four Alaska women made it into the top 10 of the skate race, a group led by third-place Rosie Brennan of APU. Chelsea Holmes was sixth, Kate Fitzgerald seventh and Caitlin Patterson eighth. In the women's classic race, Lauren Fritz grabbed seventh place.
Anchorage's Lex Treinen was the only Alaska man in the top 10 of either race; he was 10th in the skate race.
The five colors in the Olympics rings are blue, yellow, black, green and red. Every nation has at least one of those colors in its national flag.
Written and compiled by Daily News sports editor Beth Bragg, with contributions from wire services and from Chelsea Little of fasterskier.com.
By BETH BRAGG