PyeongChang 2018 gold medallist Kikkan Randall is undergoing treatment for breast cancer.
The 35-year-old cross-country says she is going to bring “as much tenacity, strength, and energy toward this challenge as I have throughout my entire career”.
Randall retired after winning team sprint gold in Korea with Jessie Diggins.
Before PyeongChang, Randall had failed to make the podium at four previous Games.
But in her 18th Olympic competition, she won her first medal with Diggins’ lunge ahead of Sweden’s Stina Nilsson ensuring it was gold.
The only mum in Team USA’s Olympic roster was also the senior partner in the cross-country squad which was in disarray just 12 years previously.
After being pulled out at midway during the 2005 World Championship 4x5km relay for being too slow, the US Ski Team named zero women to the national team for 2005-06.
Randall led the revival, winning a World Cup event in December 2007 and taking World Championship sprint silver in 2009.
She had to wait another nine years for Olympic honours.
Having blazed a trail for the likes of Randall and fellow team-mate Sophie Caldwell, Randall hung up her skis after PyeongChang.
She moved with husband Jeff Ellis and their two-year-old son Breck from Anchorage, Alaska to Penticton, British Columbia.
But Randall found lumps in her breast in May which were found to be cancerous and has now returned to Anchorage for treatment.
“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.” – Kikkan Randall (kikkanimal) on Instagram
She underwent her first round of chemotherapy on Monday and lived up to her reputation for toughness by cycling to and from the hospital.
*I began my first round of chemo on Monday surrounded by great friends and family. I made sure get a gym workout in beforehand, rode my bike to and from the hospital, and wore my happy shoes.” *– Kikkan Randall (kikkanimal) on Instagram
Randall will stay with her parents before her next session in three weeks, with four more rounds coming after that.
Known for the pink streaks in her hair, Randall has vowed to find a “fun way” to put the dye back in if her hair falls out due to the chemotherapy.
Support for Kikkan
Diggins was quick to give her backing to her gold medal partner.
Alpine ski star Mikaela Shiffrin also offered her support to her nordic skiing compatriot.
Paralympic hero Tatyana McFadden believes Randall’s trademark tenacity will stand her in good stead for the battle ahead.
And Team USA is behind her all the way.