Kikkan Randall has a message for other moms pursuing their goals: Let motherhood make you stronger than you’ve ever been.
Randall and her teammate Jessica Diggins won the gold in cross country team sprint freestyle at the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics.
This is the fifth time Randall has competed in the Winter Olympics but the first time an American woman has ever won gold in this event.
Randall, 35, is one of 21 parents among the 244 athletes competing. But Randall is the games’ only mother.
She first competed in the 2002 games in Salt Lake City. Randall later competed in Turin, Vancouver and Sochi and never finished higher than sixth place.
Along came a baby
On her journey to gold, Randall and husband Jeff Ellis were joined by son Breck in April 2016.
This was Randall’s first Winter Olympics as a mom. And that’s what gave her the edge, she said.
Randall credited her teammates and her son Breck, 21 months, with winning the gold. Motherhood, she said, only made her stronger and more determined. Randall told Today:
“It was this race in particular that really motivated me to go for one more Olympics, and really pushed me through this comeback after having my son. It’s been so fun. This family on this team has been helping me raise Breck. It’s just so cool.
“I hope it gives a lot of inspiration to all the moms out there that you can come back to being active and physical and stronger than you’ve ever been.“
Randall told the Huffington Post that her son stayed back with his grandparents in Canada. In the interview, Randall said that she FaceTimes her son and knowing he was safe helped her focus.
Breck was never far from her mind or anyone else’s as she had that first-time, proud mom chatter thing going.
“Now I’m just striking up conversations everywhere I go about parenthood!”
Randall said she gave herself three weeks after Breck’s birth to chill but training began in earnest soon after. By 10 months, Randall said she was almost ready to compete at full potential again.
Her easy-going son has traveled the world with Randall and her husband to compete. But when he started waking up multiple times a night, Randall said she needed help. She turned to other moms.
A Finnish friend recommended sleep training and it worked.
The toddler who is not yet 2 has already been up on skis.
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