LAHTI, Finland (March 1) – Two-time World Cup champion Kikkan Randall (Anchorage) made a statement Saturday with rookie teammate Sophie Caldwell (Peru, VT) as the two took first and third at the Lahti World Cup sprints, the first-ever double podium for U.S. women. It was a career-first podium for Caldwell, as well as the first time a woman other than Randall has landed on an individual World Cup podium in the modern era. The crucial win put Randall back on top of the World Cup sprint standings as she continues the fight for her third-straight sprint title. The Lahti Ski Games continue Sunday with the men’s 15k and women’s 10k freestyle races.
Two-time World Cup champion Kikkan Randall made a statement Saturday with rookie teammate Sophie Caldwell as the two took first and third at the Lahti World Cup sprints, the first-ever double podium for U.S. women. (Getty Images/AFP/Heikki Saukkomaa)
It was super fun to share the podium with my teammate today. Sophie is having an incredible breakthrough season and it's so fun to head to the start with your teammate. I'm super impressed with her trajectory and I'm looking forward to pushing each other and the other girls to the next level!
It's going to be a tough battle with two more classic sprints left. I am glad the good race feelings are back and I'm hoping to find the strong classic form I had at the beginning of the season. I knew I needed a big race today so it's great to have a chance to defend the globe now!
It is a very special day for me. I cannot believe I won third place. I trained lunges with my coach and I think it was my best lunge ever. It is great feeling for me to be on the podium with Kikkan.
Matt Whitcomb, Head Women’s Cross Country Coach
Today's result is very special to the team. A double podium after what for some was a disappointing several weeks in Russia is what can happen to a buoyant team. Everyone has kept their heads up and eyes wide open, awake, always positive and ready to take the next hard swing. It feels good to hit one or two out of the park again and I'm not afraid to say we've missed that feeling.
You couldn't help but smile watching Kikkan run back and forth in her warm-up before the quarters, semis, and finals. With each progressive heat one could see the good feelings returning–not just physically, but emotionally. By the finals it was apparent that she was ready to put on a show.
Sophie made incredible moves out there today. It was a hard-earned passage from one heat to the next today in deteriorating conditions, but for Sophie, that course breakdown only opens up opportunity. She floats.