Gold medal-winning X-C skier receives cancer diagnosis

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ANCHORAGE (KTUU) Olympic gold medal-winning cross-country skier Kikkan Randall recently announced that she has been diagnosed with cancer.

Kikkan Randall in the hospital. Photo courtesy Charlie Renfro.

"It's a big hit. I just kind of felt myself sink into the seat a little bit. The weird thing though, even though the doctor was telling me that it's probably nothing, I just had this feeling," Randall said. "And that's why I was like, 'I just want to know. I just want to get this cleared.' So, in a way, I wasn't surprised, but at the same time, a cancer diagnosis, the word cancer, every time you hear that word, stops you dead in your tracks."

In an email sent to Gray-TV affiliate KTUU, Kikkan called her diagnosis "early stage breast cancer" and said that she is currently undergoing treatment in Anchorage, Alaska.

"I'm in the first few days of my first round of chemo and do not yet know how this will all affect me," Kikkan said.

On Facebook, the Olympic gold medalist posted, saying that, although the cancer was caught early, "My life will change quite a bit in the coming months."

"I certainly had to come face to face with the idea of being mortal," Randall said. "I often joke with my family that I hate when I get reminded I'm not superhuman."

Randall said this whole journey is still hard to process.

"In a way, I feel totally normal. So that's been hard. It makes this whole thing feel surreal. Like, I was out there doing intervals and doing everything," she said with a small smile.

Randall said long days with lots of new information can be overwhelming, "But there's a lot of things to be positive about. I have an incredible 2-year-old that's a great distraction, and great motivation, and a lot of amazing support to keep things going forward."

Randall's son, Breck, and husband, Jeff, are still in Canada, where the family recently moved after Randall retired from competitive skiing. She hopes that she'll be able to maintain her active lifestyle, including seeing her family often, while she's treated in Alaska due to her health care coverage.

"Whether it's wearing pink, or putting on good music, or wearing my happy shoes to the doctor's office I'm going to do everything I can to focus on the good," Randall said, "because I can't do anything else about it."