Editorial: With determination, dedication, glitter turns to gold

  • By Peninsula Clarion Editorial
  • Monday, February 26, 2018 1:37pm
  • Opinion

Add a splash of hot pink to the red white and blue. And some glitter face paint — lots of that.

On Wednesday morning, Alaskans (at least those who weren’t up in the wee hours to watch it live) woke up to news that Kikkan Randall had teamed with Jessie Diggins to win gold for the United States in the women’s 7.5-kilometer freestyle sprint relay cross-country ski race. It was the first-ever Olympic medal in cross-country skiing for the American women’s team, and first-ever Olympic gold medal for any American cross-country skier. Randall and Diggins join Billy Koch, who won a silver medal in 1976, as the only Americans to win cross-country skiing medals.

That’s a big deal, and we commend Randall, who is from Anchorage, and Diggins, of Minnesota, for the achievement. While the duo won the medal in Pyeongchang, South Korea, we know they earned it with the countless hours of training, in the gym, on roller skis or a glacier in the off-season, or traveling around the world during the competitive season. Randall and Diggins are a testament to hard work and determination.

The two have also made all that hard work look like fun. Randall, who many central Kenai Peninsula residents might remember from her days at East High School in Anchorage, when she regularly competed at Tsalteshi Trails in cross-country running and skiing, is identifiable by her pink hair. Randall and Diggins wore striped knee-high socks for their race, and the glitter face paint has become a pre-race ritual.

And just as commendable as their athletic achievements — perhaps evens more so — has been their willingness to see themselves as role models. There is a whole generation of cross-country skiers who will be donning face paint before big races (we’d be willing to bet that more than a few competitors at the state high school ski meet in Fairbanks this weekend are sporting pink hair and glitter).

“The door has opened,” Randall said after the race. “What I hope this gold medal really means is that those kids dream about being in this position someday, and they feel it’s really possible.”

But Randall and Diggins have inspired more than just skiers, more than women. Indeed, if you’ve watched the video of Diggins’ final charge to the finish line, it’s impossible not to feel inspired to do something great yourself, and inspiration is a powerful thing.

As for the next generation of Kikkan Randalls and Jessie Digginses, we have them here in our community, whether they’re skiers, or they play another sport, or excel in academics or the arts or any other venue for their talents. And they know the formula — inspiration and hard work.

As Diggins said, “Put some face paint and socks on those kids, they’re coming up hot.”

More in Opinion

Alaska Chief Medical Officer Anne Zink promotes getting immunized with the flu shot this winter. (Photo courtesy Alaska Department of Health and Social Services)
Immunize when you winterize

An annual flu shot plus the COVID-19 vaccine protects Alaskans and our health care system, too.

(Peter Segall / Juneau Empire File)
Opinion: Dunleavy’s first act as governor was unconstitutional

That’s according to a ruling by Senior U.S. District Judge John Sedwick.

This Aug. 3, 2021, photo shows Juneau International Airport.  The Federal Aviation Administration shared recommendations on Thursday for improving aviation safety in the state. (Michael S. Lockett / Juneau Empire File)
Opinion: How the FAA will improve the margin of aviation safety in Alaska

Alaska depends on aviation more than any other state…

Central Peninsula Hospital is seen in Soldotna on Wednesday, Oct. 13, 2021. (Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion)
Voices of the Peninsula: Perspective of an educator in a ‘high-risk’ group, part 2

During some of the darkest days of my time in ICU, it was obvious where we all live is a special place.

Lawmakers havereturned to the Alaska State Capitol for a fourth special session. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire File)
Opinion: Revenues should be determined before more PFD spending

The governor believes the dividend drives the entire calculation. Sadly, he has it backwards

Ronnie Leach. (Photo provided)
Point of View: For Domestic Violence Awareness Month, #weareresilient

At the onset of COVID-19, we expanded our services in a way to ensure COVID-19 consciousness.

Rep. Don Young talks during a June 2021 interview with the Empire. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire File)
Opinion:Where’s Don Young when America needs him?

Once upon a time, avoiding political controversy was completely out of character for Young.

Peter Zuyus
Voices of the Peninsula: Seniors appreciate vaccination efforts

To those who have worked to encourage vaccination we say: Be proud, you are, in fact, saving lives.

Jackson Blackwell (courtesy photo)
Voices of the Peninsula: Carbon dividends are the bipartisan climate solution

By levying a gradually increasing price on carbon, U.S. emissions will be slashed by 50% in 15 years.

Gov. Mike Dunleavy holds a press conference at the Capitol on Tuesday, April 9, 2019. (Juneau Empire file photo)
Dunleavy: Facts Matter

Political opportunists care more about spreading political untruths than accepting the facts.

Steve Hughes. (Photo provided)
Voices of the Peninsula: We are all victims of COVID-19

It is disturbing to hear, as a triage nurse, the many reasons cited for not getting a vaccine that are based on misinformation.

teaser
Opinion: LGBTQ+ Alaskans deserve respect and dignity

Like every state that lacks equality, we need federal protection.