Impressive: Being America's first World Cup champion in cross-country skiing since 1982. Way more impressive: Winning the title after racing on one ski. That's what Kikkan Randall managed to do yesterday in Drammen, Norway. The Anchorage native has been the World Cup sprint leader this season, and managed to finish 11th yesterday; it was her only non-top-10 finish of the season's nine sprint races, but it was good enough to hand her the championship.
The Anchorage Daily News reports that the 29-year-old needed to finish in 15th place or higher, and when she advanced to the semis, it seemed like a sure thing: As long as she finished, she couldn't come in below 12th place. But that outcome seemed in doubt shortly after she started the 3/4-mile race: Her binding tore off, causing her to lose a ski and take a tumble. Her solution? Pick up the busted one and carry it as she continued to race. She was able to grab a replacement with 200 meters to go, and ultimately crossed the line on two skis. Wrote Randall in an email, "A bittersweet day, but emphasis on the SWEET!!!!"