(Reuters) - Kikkan Randall, who last year helped the United States win their first Olympic cross-country skiing title, said on Tuesday that she believed she was cancer free after finishing treatment for stage two breast cancer a month ago.
The American received her diagnosis soon after helping the U.S. win their first cross-country skiing gold medal in the team sprint event at the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Games.
“I am cancer free as far as we know,” the now retired Randall said in an interview with NBC News’ 3rd Hour of TODAY.
“It was a totally crazy adventure, I mean the absolute opposite of what I expected coming off the gold medal, but it’s amazing how quickly my athlete frame of mind took over and I just knew this was going to be my latest challenge.”
Randall, 36, and team mate Jessie Diggins stunned the field in South Korea when they overtook more heralded teams in the women’s team sprint relay in the final stretch.
Seated next to Randall in the interview, Diggins said she struggled with an eating disorder in her teenage years and wanted to use her new-found celebrity to help others battling the illness.
“I realized I didn’t want to get to the end of my career and look back and think, ‘Wow I never said anything that mattered,’” said Diggins, who is a spokesperson for The Emily Program, which helps treat eating disorders.
“I just realised that there are so many other people who are struggling with eating disorders in the U.S. and all around the world. And I just wanted to share, ‘Hey this happened to me and I went and got help’,” she said.
“I was able to get my life back and able to recover and that’s when my skiing took off and that’s when I was healthy and that was when I could ski race and be happy again.”
Reporting by Rory Carroll; editing by Ken Ferris