I am not an Olympic athlete, and thus I do not know what it's like to not win the medal you've been working so hard for. Obviously I have experienced other forms of disappointment in my life, but probably nothing compared to missing an opportunity of an Olympic medal.
Kikkan has been on my mind all day. We haven't been teammates in over ten years (we won't talk about how long it's actually been...because that makes me feel old), but I still cheer for her every time she races. I haven't seen her in almost as long...except for that one time a few years ago she flew past B and I as we were huffing and puffing up a hill out on the hillside trails. Her words to us, "hey guys! So great to see you out here!" We had no words...we were too out of breath.
She's a great teammate. Her enthusiasm is contagious, and she is an excellent motivator. She doesn't care if you are fast or slow, she'll still cheer you on while you try not to die on the biggest uphill.
I don't really have a point here except to say that we could all learn something from Kikkan. She didn't have the outcome she wanted today, but she won't let this one event define her. If she's anything like the Kikkan I skied with 10+ years ago, she's going to carry on stronger and faster.
She's done so much for the sport of cross-country skiing (especially in the US) and come so far in the past few years, you can't help but think she's awesome. Also, how can you help but love a girl whose goal is to make cross-country skiing cool. If there was anyone who can succeed at that...it's her.
Read any of the articles published about her in the past few weeks and you can't help but smile and be proud of her, especially if you're an Alaskan. I know it's not an Olympic gold medal...but in my opinion all those kind words say more than any medal or trophy ever could.
Thank you Kikkan, for being who you are and doing what you do with poise and passion! #crosscountryiscool