Kikkan Randall leads U.S. Olympic cross-country team eyeing history
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.
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.
The U.S. cross-country team includes siblings Erik and Sadie Bjornsen, which makes six total sets of siblings on the U.S. Olympic Team so far.
They join curlers Craig and Erika Brown, figure skaters Maia and Alex Shibutani, hockey players Amanda and Phil Kessel and Jocelyne and Monique Lamoureux and snowboarders Arielle and Taylor Gold.
Another set of siblings is likely to be named later Wednesday -- Nordic combined skiers Bryan and Taylor Fletcher.
Here is the full U.S. Olympic cross-country skiing team:
Kris Freeman -- 2002, 2006, 2010 Olympian
Simi Hamilton -- 2010 Olympian
Torin Koos -- 2002, 2006, 2010 Olympian
Andy Newell -- 2006, 2010 Olympian
Holly Brooks -- 2010 Olympian
Kikkan Randall -- 2002, 2006, 2010 Olympian
Liz Stephen -- 2010 Olympian