Randall’s fans have to set alarm clocks

Question of the Day

Is it still considered bad form to talk politics during a social gathering?

View results

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) - Early one recent Saturday morning, Kikkan Randall’s parents sat groggily in front of a pair of laptop computers in an East Anchorage condominium.

Their 31-year-old daughter was seconds from starting a ski race 5,000 miles away, in a resort town in the Czech Republic. But their live stream of a Eurosport TV channel was showing ski jumping instead.

“OK, come on,” Deborah Randall, Kikkan’s mother, said impatiently.

Kikkan hadn’t competed in three weeks, and that race was her first since she’d suffered a back injury 12 days earlier. She was facing tough competition in her sprint heat, and if it didn’t go well, her day could be over after just three minutes of racing.

Justifiably, her parents were nervous.

Finally, the feed switched over, just in time for the Randalls to see their daughter cross the finish line in front of five other women, qualifying her for the next round of sprinting.

It was 6:03 a.m., with another hour of racing still to come. Time for some coffee.

In less than a month, Randall will be contending for a gold medal at the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.

WATCHING FROM AFAR

Millions of Americans will likely tune in to watch Randall’s exploits on tape-delayed prime time television — just like they do every four years for Olympic athletes.

But for the last three winters, a small group of intensely loyal cross-country ski fans in Anchorage has been following all along.

Friends, family members and even coaches tune in to unpredictable video streams just to catch a glimpse of Anchorage athletes such as Randall and Holly Brooks competing 10 time zones away in Europe. And they do it at midnight, at 1 a.m. or 2 a.m. or 3 a.m., so that they can watch live.

“I always stay up,” said Ronn Randall, Kikkan’s father.

Deborah chimed in: “I would never miss her race.”

On this Saturday morning, Deborah was wearing a pink fleece, her daughter’s trademark color. Ronn was wearing a Kikkanimal Fan Klub sweatshirt.

Story Continues →

View Entire Story

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Comments
blog comments powered by Disqus