USA's Jessica Diggins and Kikkan Randall celebrate winning gold in the women's cross country team sprint free final.
USA's Jessica Diggins and Kikkan Randall celebrate winning gold in the women's cross country team sprint free final.

Supermum wins gold at 18th attempt

IT'S going to be tough to top Breck Randall on show-and-tell day at his school in a few years.

Randall's mom, Kikkan Randall, won a gold medal for the United States in cross-country skiing on Thursday. Randall is the only mother on the US Olympic team in PyeongChang.

At 35, this is Randall's fifth Winter Olympics and her first gold medal. It was Randall's 18th Olympic event in her five trips - the most before winning a medal for anyone in Winter Olympics history.

She combined with Jessie Diggins - the skier from Afton, Minnesota - to earn the United States' first cross-country skiing medal since Bill Koch won a silver in 1976.

They narrowly defeated a duo from Sweden in the team sprint free final, with Diggins crossing the finish line 0.19 seconds before Sweden's Stina Nilsson.

This was also Randall's first Olympics since Breck was born 22 months ago.

"My pregnancy went smoothly and in the spring of 2016 we welcomed our son Breck into our family," Randall wrote for Time before the Olympics began. "Within a month I got the clearance from my doctor and worked my way back into full time training. It took patience and the belief that I could work back into shape. I was pleasantly surprised by what a powerful and positive influence becoming a mother was on my ski racing.

"Last winter we packed up the family and spent five months on the World Cup circuit together. This included a lot of gear, logistics and support from our parents, but we had an amazing time. I didn't always get the recovery time I was accustomed to, but I got to spend a lot of time with my son. The results panned out too. Just hours before I won a World Championship bronze medal, I was changing diapers and washing out bottles. Turns out baby chores are great for settling nerves."

Randall and Diggins secured the first women's cross-country skiing medal in American history. Randall was a world champion and gold medal favourite heading into the Winter Olympics four years ago in Sochi, but ended up finishing fourth in the individual sprint event.

Breck isn't in South Korea. He's in Canada with grandparents, but man is he going to have a story to tell his future school friends - and mom's gold medal to show off as well.

"I won't get to see him for a full month, which is going to be really hard because I've just gotten so adapted to life chasing around a toddler," Randall told the Huffington Post before the event.

"But he is doing great with his grandparents. I FaceTimed with him tonight, and he's having a great time. I know he's in a good place, so now I can focus on what I need to do."


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