PARK CITY, UT – World Champion cross country ski racer Kikkan Randall (Anchorage, AK) is planning to take a break from competition this season. Randall and husband Jeff Ellis announced to her teammates this week that they are expecting their first child in April. Randall will skip the upcoming season, but plans to come back strong for the World Championship year in 2016-17 and keep her eyes focused on the 2018 Olympics in PyeongChang.
Randall, 32, who has also won three season-long World Cup sprint titles, was glowing with the news as she talked to teammates gathered in Park City for the Team’s final pre-season conditioning camp.
“After Sochi, I thought a lot about my future and the goals I still want to achieve,” said Randall. “I was always committed to continue racing, but Jeff and I also wanted to start a family. We felt this was a good time. I’m excited about becoming a mother, but am also looking forward to coming back to race in 2017.”
Randall plans to spend some time at selective World Cups this season as a spectator to maintain contact with the sport. Her husband, who serves as a marketing support manager on the FIS Cross Country World Cup tour, will continue to travel on the circuit this winter.
Randall, a 14 year veteran of the U.S. Cross Country Ski Team, is one of its most decorated stars in history with three World Cup titles and two World Championship medals, including gold in the team sprint from 2013, pairing with Jessie Diggins (Afton, MN).
“Finding a way to balance an athletic career and being a mother has been a goal of hers for some time, so rewarding to see it come together for her,” said Head Coach Chris Grover. “As much as we will miss Kikkan’s leadership on the World Cup tour, we know that she will be back in 2016-17. The Team is very excited for Kikkan and Jeff.“
“I plan to maintain my same athletic direction when I come back, skiing both sprint and distance,” Randall said. “I’m especially looking forward to the freestyle sprint at World Championships in Lahti, where I’ve won before, and the team events in PyeongChang.”
“If anyone has the tenacity and the drive to return to World Class form after starting a family, it is Kikkan,” added Grover. “She understands the hard work and the form that is necessary to be a Champion, and she is already showing the determination to return to the sport and to win. The Team is already looking forward to having her back in training camps next summer and we’ll be looking to her for big results in 2017 and 2018.”
Randall is continuing to participate with the Team at its dryland and roller ski camp in Park City until late October.