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Back-to-back gold medals for Anchorage ski queen Kikkan Randall

Alaska Dispatch
Courtesy Chris Hodel

Three-time Olympic skier Kikkan Randall added to her burgeoning collection of World Cup medals on Saturday when she won an individual sprint race in Quebec City, Canada. 

That's two gold medals in two days for Randall in a sport where, before Randall's arrival, Americans could go years without claiming a medal of any color. On Friday, Randall and her US teammate Jessica Diggins made US Ski Team history when they won the women's 6 X 1.6-kilometer freestyle team sprint race, according to the online ski and snowboard magazine First Tracks.

A day later, she dominated the finals of the individual freestyle sprint, relegating Maiken Caspersen Kalla of Norway to the silver-medal spot and Ida Ingemarsdotter of Sweden to third. Randall has already claimed six medals so far in this World Cup season, making her the world's No. 2-ranked cross-country skier among women and the top-rated sprint skier. 

But Randall, 29, is no longer feared only as a sprinter, a discipline in which she paced the world last year. Two of her medals this season have come in a 5-kilometer and 10-K freestyle races. 

And on Saturday after the seventh win of her World Cup career, she got to take a victory lap and bask in the glory while American fans among the crowd estimated at 10,000 waved the US flag. 

“I really just wanted to sharpen my form, but it's there,” said Randall, according to the Skiracing website, adding that the enthusiastic crowd had fueled her. “Oh my God it was amazing out there.” 

Randall is a graduate of East High School in Anchorage who trains at the Alaska Pacific University Nordic Ski Center. Her APU teammates Rebecca Rorabaugh (24th) Sadie Bjornsen (27th), Holly Brooks (36th), Kate Fitzgerald (52nd) and Lauren Fitz (54th) also competed. 

“It’s a great reward to be able to win in front of friends and family," Randall told First Tracks after her win with Diggins on Friday. "Everyone traveled really far to come out and support us today, so we wanted to go out and do our job and put on a good show, and the atmosphere here was fantastic today. It’s so cool for us to see the American flag and hear our names called out. I’m glad we put in a good performance.”