The Winter Olympics are over and Anchorage's Kikkan Randall has as many Olympic medals now as she did 17 days ago. Randall, the gold-medal favorite in the sprint and along with her teammates a medal contender in the relay, came up empty in Sochi.
Go ahead and chalk it up as failure. A heartbreaking one at that.
But after spending Saturday at the high school cross-country skiing state championships at Kincaid Park, Sochi Report came away thinking a whole bunch of Alaska kids learned a valuable lesson while watching Randall's Olympics unfold -- and that their admiration for America's greatest skier hasn't waned a bit.
Here's what some of them had to say:
"She might not be having a great Olympics, but she's still inspiring the younger generation. It's awesome to have her be there." -- Annika Flynn, South High.
"Kikkan? I like to watch her on YouTube videos to get an idea of good form. What I learned from her (at the Olympics) is when you don't do your best in one race, you come back. You don't let defeat get you down." -- Heather Lindsey, Bartlett High.
"She had a really positive attitude about it. I saw the Facebook post of that photo where she was shrugging, like, 'It is what it is.' I'm gonna try to win, but if I get second or third, it is what it is. That's what racing's about. It's not our last race." -- Seiji Takagi, South High.
"She still was really humble and excited for her teammates and excited to race. You've gotta learn from what you did. If you're sad about your result, OK, but it's just one race. There's another one coming up." -- Jake Bassett, Service High.
"She kept such a positive attitude through everything. With her teammates she was, 'We can still do good, we can rally around each other.' '' -- Anna Darnell, South High.
LAST BUT NOT LEAST...
UAA alum Brian Gregg was among those who endured a brutal 50-50 race on Sunday's final day of the Winter Olympics: 50 kilometers of skiing in temperates that neared 50 degrees.
The Russians swept the podium in the men's 50-K in a race where the heat and sunshine were a factor.
Gregg, who lives in Minneapolis, stayed with the lead pack for the first half and went on to place 51st. Colorado's Noah Hoffman placed 26th after hanging with the leaders for much of the race, and New Hampshire's Kris Freeman was 57th.
"What an incredible thing to be here at the Olympics and to put it all out there on the course," said Gregg, a 2006 NCAA All-America skier for UAA, in a press release from the U.S Ski Team. "I had a gap in front of me and a gap behind me, but I still gave it everything I could out there and I'm happy about that.
Written and compiled by sports editor Beth Bragg with contributions from Daily News wire services.
By BETH BRAGG