Known for her swath of pink hair and dance moves atop the medal podium, five-time Olympic cross-country skier Kikkan Randall displayed similar positivity on Wednesday in announcing that she has been diagnosed with breast cancer, reassuring fans that it was caught early, but also acknowledging the changes about to happen to her life.
The 35-year-old Randall, a 2018 Olympic gold medalist who is the most decorated cross-country skier in U.S. history, made the announcement on social media, posting a lengthier message on Instagram in which she vowed to “bring as much tenacity, strength and energy” to her cancer fight as she has to her skiing career.
Randall wrote that she began her first round of chemotherapy on Monday back in her hometown of Anchorage, Alaska. Not only did she make sure to get in a workout beforehand, she said she even rode her bike to and from the hospital. She plans to keep fans updated via her official website and blog at kikkan.com.
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U.S. Ski & Snowboard posted well wishes on Twitter, saying, “Everyone who knows her knows she will take on this challenge with incredible strength.”
Randall came into the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018 as Team USA’s most decorated cross-country skier, with three world championships medals — including one gold — plus 33 world cup podium finishes. In PyeongChang, she made history once again when she teamed with Jessie Diggins to win the team sprint freestyle race, in doing so notching the country’s first Olympic gold medal in the sport. She retired following the 2018 Games.
Randall was elected to the International Olympic Committee Athletes’ Commission in PyeongChang and is a member of the United States Olympic Committee board of directors.
Todd Kortemeier is a sportswriter, editor and children’s book author from Minneapolis. He is a contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.