PYEONGCHANG, South Korea – Five-time U.S. Olympian Kikkan Randall – who yesterday made history by winning the first-ever U.S. gold medal in cross-country skiing – was today elected by her peers to the International Olympic Committee Athletes’ Commission. She joins Finnish ice hockey player Emma Terho as newly elected members of the 20-person commission that serves as a link between athletes and the IOC. Voting took place among all competing Olympians from Feb. 1-21 in the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Villages.
Randall and Terho will serve eight-year terms. The pair will be confirmed as members of the IOC on Feb. 25. As a U.S. IOC member, Randall will also become a member of the USOC board of directors.
“Wow, what amazing news to get today,” said Randall. “I have so much passion and energy to put toward the Olympic Movement and it feels so good to have the athletes put their faith in me. I look forward to representing the athletes and making the Olympic Movement strong in the future. This is going to be a really fun ride.”
Randall’s seat is one of two that become available when current chair Angela Ruggiero of the U.S. and member Adam Pengilly of Great Britain finish their eight-year terms on Feb. 25. Randall was one of six athletes vying for the two positions.
The goal of the IOC Athletes’ Commission is to ensure that the athletes’ viewpoint remains at the heart of Olympic Movement decisions. The majority of members of the commission are elected directly by Olympic athletes. Members of the commission are also present on the majority of other IOC commissions, and the chair serves on the IOC executive board.
“Kikkan has always represented Team USA to the highest levels,” said USOC CEO Scott Blackmun. “She’s a selfless and consummate athlete, professional, wife, mother, and advocate, and will no doubt have an extremely positive impact on the IOC Athletes’ Commission. Angela has set the bar high over the last eight years as she tirelessly advocated on behalf of athletes from all over the world, and Kikkan will no doubt further her legacy.”
Ruggiero – a four-time Olympic medalist in ice hockey – was elected to the IOC Athletes’ Commission during the Olympic Winter Games Vancouver 2010. She became vice chair in 2014 and chair in 2016.
“Congratulations to Kikkan for this well-deserved honor,” said Ruggiero. “Serving in a key leadership role on behalf of the athletes at the center of the Olympic Movement is not only a great honor, but an important responsibility. Kikkan’s a proven and dedicated advocate for athletes, and I look forward to seeing the positive impact she’ll have in this new role.”
Last night, Randall and teammate Jessie Diggins made history by winning the first Olympic medal in cross-country skiing for U.S. women (team sprint). In 2013, the duo became the first-ever U.S. world champions in cross-country skiing in the same event. Overall, Randall has skied in nine world championships, also winning silver in 2009 (sprint) and bronze in 2017 (sprint) after taking the 2015-16 season off for the birth of her child.
A native of Anchorage, Alaska, Randall is a three-time overall world cup sprint champion, three-time world championship medalist, 27-time world cup podium finisher and the first U.S. woman to earn a top-10 finish in cross-country skiing at the Olympic Winter Games.
In addition to her athletic accomplishments, Randall has served as an active ambassador for youth through leadership engagement with both Healthy Futures and Fast and Female – organizations that promote the benefits of healthy, active lifestyles to youth. She also played a key role in establishing greater leadership engagement for athletes within the International Ski Federation (FIS).
“Kikkan has had a very strong impact across many sports as both a role model and a leader of athletes,” said Olympian Tiger Shaw, who is president and CEO of U.S. Ski & Snowboard. “Her engagement with youth has become a hallmark, touching thousands of young girls through both her results as an athlete and a leader with Healthy Futures, and Fast and Female.”
Nominated by their respective National Olympic Committees, the six candidates originated from three continents and five sports. Joining Randall and Terho as candidates were Astrid Uhrenholdt Jacobsen (Norway, cross-country skiing), Ander Mirambell (Spain, skeleton), Hong Zhang (China, speedskating) and Armin Zoeggeler (Italy, luge).
IOC Athletes' Commission (as of Feb. 26)
Kirsty Coventry, Chair
Danka Bartekova, Vice Chair
Previous U.S. IOC Athletes' Commission Members
Bob Ctvrtlik, Volleyball
Edwin Moses, Track and Field
Angela Ruggiero, Ice Hockey