Kikkan Randall, who this year helped the United States win their first Olympic cross-country skiing title, has been diagnosed with breast cancer, the American said on Wednesday.
Randall, who won a gold medal in the cross-country team sprint at this year’s Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, returned to Anchorage for treatment.
“The color pink has taken on a new chapter in my life as I was recently diagnosed with breast cancer,” Randall, who often sports pink streaks in her hair, wrote on her blog. “Although we caught it early and the prognosis is good, my life will change quite a bit in the coming month.”
Randall, 35, and her team mate Jessie Diggins stunned the field in South Korea when they overtook more heralded teams in the women’s team sprint relay.
For Randall, the medal came in her fifth Olympics in her final season as a competitor and was a well-deserved payoff for years of travelling alone on the World Cup circuit, struggling to gain a foothold for the U.S. in the face of European dominance.
Randall said she began her first round of chemotherapy on Monday at the Providence Alaska Cancer Center.
“It’s a scary thing to learn you have cancer and I have wondered every day since how this could have possibly happened to me,” Randall wrote.
“But I have promised myself that I will remain positive and active and determined throughout my treatment. I am going to bring as much tenacity, strength, and energy toward this challenge as I have throughout my entire career.”