Only one mother was represented on Team USA at the 2018 Winter Olympics — and she just brought home the gold. NPR reported that Kikkan Randall, along with her teammate Jessie Diggins, handily won the United States’ very first cross-country ski medal since 1976 (you know, the era of shiny Dorothy Hamill bowl cuts).
Would you believe Randall was training for the Olympic event just one month after her son Breck’s birth? Breck is now 22 months old. Randall, who lives in Anchorage, Alaska, with her husband, Jeff, told Time, “My pregnancy went smoothly and in the spring of 2016 we welcomed our son Breck into our family… 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.”
In January, Randall posted this sweet snowy pic with Breck, captioned, “Happy #WorldSnowDay2018 everyone! #beanoutsider #catchthatsnowflake.”
It’s rare that we hear a mom in the public eye talk about the positive ways motherhood has affected and inspired her career — and we want to know more about this awesome athlete and others like her. Randall brought her family with her when she was on the World Cup circuit before the Olympics, and she told Time the multitasking was actually a boon.
“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.”
Well, damn it. If we’d known that, maybe we’d have started training for the Olympics too. Shoot. Too late for biathlon?
Breck wasn’t on hand at the Olympics to see his mom win gold — the little guy stayed with his grandparents while Randall focused on medaling in her fifth and final Olympics. She told The Washington Post before the Games, “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. But he is doing great with his grandparents… I know he’s in a good place, so now I can focus on what I need to do.”
And focus she did, with 24-karat gold finesse. Randall also talked to the Boston Globe about the joy of competing during prime momming years. “In a sport like cross-country skiing where it takes so long to get to the top, you really just start getting to the fun part when you’re kind of in your prime childbearing age. It was something where I didn’t want to have to make a choice either way. I was curious to see if I could do it and thankfully I’d had an amazing career to that point and I was going to be happy no matter what happened. I’ve come back surprisingly strong.”