Olympian Kikkan Randall hopes to empower young female athletes at Olympian Hall | SteamboatToday.com

Olympian Kikkan Randall hopes to empower young female athletes at Olympian Hall

United States' Jessica Diggins, left, and Kikkan Randall celebrate after winning the gold medal in the women's team sprint freestyle cross-country skiing final at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2018.
Kristy Wigglesworth

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — The Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club is bringing in Kikkan Randall for a pair of free and public events in which she shares her stories on winning Olympic Gold, being a mom and beating cancer.

Randall will address a girls-only audience at Olympian Hall at 2 to 3 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 15, in an event named Girls for Gold. At 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Monday, Sept. 16, she’ll speak about her path to Olympic Gold.

Randall will be the keynote speaker at the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Team’s Gold Medal Gala in New York City this fall but is, first, making a stop in Steamboat.

“She was really the first woman in cross country skiing in the U.S. to be successful at the national level,” SSWSC Athletic Director Dave Stewart said. “Around that was the success of the U.S. women’s cross country team, and she was really instrumental in that. It wasn’t just her. She really brought up everybody else. Creating this winning culture is something she talks about a lot.”

Randall’s ninth-place finish at the 2006 Winter Olympics in Torino, Italy, was the highest ever placement in cross country skiing by an American woman. A year later, she took bronze at the World Cup in Russia, becoming the first American woman to see the cross country skiing podium.

In 2016, she gave birth to her son before returning to the sport’s biggest stage.

If you go…

Girls for Gold (girls-only)
When: Sunday, Sept. 15, 2 p.m.
Where: Olympian Hall, 845 Howelsen Parkway

Path to Olympic Gold
Monday, Sept. 16, 6:30 p.m.
Where: Olympian Hall

In 2018, the Alaskan native made her fifth Olympic appearance. In her final race in Pyeongchang, South Korea, the team sprint, she won Gold alongside Jessie Diggins.

A few months later, she was diagnosed with breast cancer.

She is also the founder of Fast and Female, a nonprofit that works to “inspire the next generation of female athletes by sharing their love of sports,” according to its website.

“She has a lot to talk about,” Stewart said. “She’s been passionate while she was an athlete with this idea of leveraging her notoriety and empower girls and women through sport.”

The SSWSC brings in speakers somewhat frequently as part of the coaches education program. This year, they expect Randall to draw more of a crowd.

“Occasionally, we’ll have someone with broader appeal, like Kikkan, who has a story who reaches out beyond the coaches and the athletes,” Stewart said.

To reach Shelby Reardon, call 970-871-4253, email sreardon@SteamboatPilot.com or follow her on Twitter @ByShelbyReardon.

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