Cross Country skiing sprinter Kikkan Randall of the U.S. Ski Team likely has received the largest sponsorship ever for an American XC skier, though the actual dollar amount has not been made public.
The Anchorage, Alaska native will be sponsored by Kashi, a Kellogg brand, for the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games.
Randall, 29, is a World Cup XC ski champion and the first American male or female to win a World Cup season title in XC skiing in 30 years. Randall is perceived by many as a great hope to popularize XC skiing to a higher level in the U.S.
Kashi products (cereal, crackers, bars, etc.) are natural, minimally processed, and free of highly refined sugar, artificial additives, and preservatives. The brand’s intention through this sponsorship is to spread the word that living a healthy, positive lifestyle begins with eating right.
"We're passionate about the power of positive eating and we really found a perfect partner in Kikkan," said Kashi Marketing Director John King,
"They (Kashi products) provide me with the right nutrients to give me energy for my workouts," Randall said in endorsing the products. "I believe in living a healthy and active lifestyle and one of my goals is to inspire others to do the same, which involves eating positively so they can pursue the things they love."
Randall made history as the first American woman to win the FIS Cross Country Skiing World Cup sprint title. Sprint races have time trials where each contestant skis the course in interval starts. The fastest 16 skiers advance to elimination rounds. The first two skiers in each of the eliminations move on to the semi-final races, which consist of two heats of four athletes each. The medal sprint is one race with the top two skiers from each semi-final heat.
As a 15-time U.S. National Champion and a 3-time Olympian, Randall validated a major milestone in her career, hoisting the hard-earned Joska crystal globe she was awarded as the FIS Cross Country World Cup sprint champion at the 2013 season finale in Falun, Sweden.
She’s the niece of two former Olympians and earned her nickname “Kikkanimal” from her high school running teammates in Anchorage because she was always pushing them to do more and try harder. For some of the financial support needed to compete, Kikkan had secured several Alaskan-based sponsors including Subway, an automobile dealership group, and various health businesses. Kashi becomes a global level of sponsorship at a much higher level, a rarity for an XC racer.
Randall visits elementary schools to talk with kids about working to attain their dreams and being active everyday. Proclaimed as a “Get Activist,” she inspires kids to lead a healthy lifestyle in the “Healthy Futures” program. She also encourages female athletes in the “Fast and Female” programs. Starting now, when she speaks to groups, she can bring the World Cup globe and a box of Kashi cereal for show-and-tell.
Randall says she is dedicated to expanding the popularity of cross country skiing in the U.S. She was interviewed by major media such as USA Today, NY Times, Wall Street Journal, Chicago Tribune, and others after winning the World Cup title, where she spoke about her accomplishment and made the case that cross country skiing can be enjoyed at any level.
Randall’s record of American firsts in XC skiing include the first World Cup women’s podium, first World Cup women’s victory, first World Championship women’s medal, first Olympic women’s Top Ten, and first World Cup Overall women’s discipline leader. She placed eighth in the women’s sprint In the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, the best ever American women’s finish. Randall won the 6 x 1.2 kilometer team sprint world champion with Jessica Diggins at Val Di Fiemme, Italy last winter.
Randall was not the only ski world recipient of Kellogg's largesse. Olympic gold medalist mogul skier Hannah Kearney and pro snowboarder Chas Guldemond received sponsorship deals from Kellogg's Bear Naked brand.
Photo: Kikkan Randall wins in Quebec City (U.S. Ski Team.Smug Mug/Reese Brown)