USA's Kikkan Randall became the best sprinter on the ladies' side last season. The skier from Alaska talked to FIS Cross-Country News about her summer preparation, goals for the winter and her 4-year term on the FIS Athletes' Commission.
Q: You are coming to the end of your 4-year term as the female representative for Cross-Country on the FIS Athletes’ Commission. How has the experience been and would you like to continue for another 4 years?
Kikkan Randall: Yes, I have really enjoyed my time on the FIS Athletes’ Commission representing Cross-Country. It has taken these 4 years to learn the ropes and get to know the people, and I have established some good paths of communication with the top levels of the cross-country committee. So I feel that can I continue to be affective and would enjoy doing this for another 4 years.
Q: After having such a successful season last year taking the World Cup Overall Sprint title, what are your goals moving forward towards the 2012-13 World Cup season?
K.R.: Yeah, last year was certainly a lot of fun and I would like to continue to improve at both my sprint and distance results.
Q: You have struggled with a foot injury this summer. Has that affected your off-season training?
K.R.: Unfortunately, I’ve had to slow down a little bit this summer after good training through mid-August, as it became clear that I had a stress fracture in my right foot. I’ve had to take the last month a little bit easier too give the foot some rest and avoid activities that aggravate it.
Q: What are the activities that bothered the foot?
K.R.: Primarily, it was skate skiing. But for the past 6 weeks I have also not run, and only double-poled roller skiing.
Q: Has that changed your approach to the start of the racing season?
K.R.: Normally I would have been looking forward to really coming in in good form with the opening races in Gaellivare, and the mini-tour in Kuusamo, as well as the two sprints in Quebec. But I haven’t been able to skate for 6 weeks now and it’s still another couple of weeks before that becomes a possibility. Hopefully, I will be ready to participate in those races, but don’t see my form coming around until the Tour de Ski.
Q: To talk a little bit more about the stress fracture. Any ideas about what the cause of it was or when it happened? Or was it a gradual thing?
KR: I think I felt the pain building for about the last year. I felt it during some camps last summer, and during the Tour de Ski. It was very subtle so I really didn’t pay attention to it. As cross-country athletes we are used to pushing through pain. But this summer, especially during on-snow camps it became clear that something was wrong. I appears to be an overuse kind of thing, maybe not enough support within my boot, and then the skating motion forcing the foot to role inward put a lot of stress on the metatarsal.
Q: The Olympics are just less than 500 days away, are you excited to get to race in Sochi this season and get a look at the Olympic trails? What have you heard about the site so far?
KR: Yes, definitely. The Olympic excitement is building especially after watching the athletes competing in London in the summer. I am excited to get our chance again here soon. Sochi is such a mysterious place, so I am excited to get there and see what it is all about and see what the courses are like and start getting prepare for the games in 2014.