Kikkan Randall is the first Alaskan to make five Olympic teams — and only the ninth American. She may be a stronger symbol of the Olympics to Alaskans than the five rings. If our Legislature, which has taken the time to name a state rodent and a state rifle, were to name Randall a state treasure, few would accuse them of folly.
The cross-country skier is a force and a mother and role model, especially for young women but for all Alaskans.
And this year, in South Korea, she has more company than ever before.
Fourteen Alaskans are competing in the Pyeongchang Games; 11 for the United States, three for other nations. Eleven are cross-country skiers; two are snowboarders, one is a figure-skater. It's pleasant to think of any of them anywhere on the medals stand. We've had our share of Olympic medalists both summer and winter, from the rowing prowess of Kris Thorsness (Los Angeles 1984) to the lightning-strike performances of downhill skiers Hilary Lindh (Albertville 1992) and Tommy Moe (Lillehammer, 1994) to the true aim of shooter Corey Cogdell (Beijing 2008, Rio de Janeiro 2016) to the bronze and gold won by Carlos Boozer and his basketball mates (Athens 2004, Beijing 2008).
Medal or not, it's a fine crew that Alaska has at these Winter Games. The home front has your back, Olympians. Spend it all out there.
BOTTOM LINE: Alaskans send our best to compete with the best.