American Kikkan Randall leads U.S. Olympic cross-country team
Kikkan Randall can achieve two firsts at her fourth Olympics.
The Alaskan could become the first U.S. woman to win a cross-country skiing medal and the first American, man or woman, to win a cross-country skiing gold medal.
Cross-country skiing has been on the Olympic program since 1924 for men and 1952 for women. Bill Koch is the only American with an Olympic medal, silver from the 30km in 1976.
Randall, 31, leads a 14-member team to the Sochi Olympics announced Wednesday. It includes two other four-time Olympians, Kris Freeman and Torin Koos.
Randall made her Olympic debut at 19 in 2002. Her best Olympic finish was sixth in the team sprint in 2010.
Embedded owg_slideshow: Meet the United States cross-country team
She’s a gold-medal contender in the individual sprint Feb. 11, having won the World Cup season title last year and individual World Cup races the last two weeks.
Her top foe in Sochi could be Norwegian Marit Bjorgen, who won four gold medals at the 2013 World Championships, including the individual sprint. Bjorgen also won the event at the 2010 Olympics, where she won three golds to bring her overall Olympic tally to seven.
Randall could also win a gold medal in the team sprint. She and Jessie Diggins are the reigning world champions.
They join curlers Craig Brown and Erika Brown, figure skaters Maia Shibutani and Alex Shibutani, hockey players Amanda Kessel and Phil Kessel and Jocelyne Lamoureux and Monique Lamoureux and snowboarders Arielle Gold and Taylor Gold.
Here is the full U.S. Olympic cross-country skiing team:
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