Tiny Alaska school fuels Team USA's cross-country roster

Danielle Paquette
February 19, 2014
Kikkan Randall of the United States leads the pack. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

Alaska: major exporter of salmon, crab, Palins— and, under the radar, Winter Olympians.
Alumni from a tiny liberal arts school in Anchorage have filled nearly one-third of Team USA’s cross-country ski roster, according to the Los Angeles Times.

About 700 students attend Alaska Pacific University, where nearby Eagle Glacier and long, cold winters (for year-round training) make up for a lack of basketball court or football field. Said former APU coach/U.S. racer Holly Brooks:

The school’s only sports program is its club cross-country squad, comprised of 25 elite racers on a “shoestring budget,” the newspaper reported. But a lack of funds hasn’t dashed the skiers’ Olympic dreams.

APU, which sits on 170 wooded acres, has supplied four of the 14 American racers in Sochi. Two of them — including the pink-haired star Kikkan Randall — will compete this week in the men's and women's team sprints.

On her alma mater's domination, Randall told the L.A. Times: "It's really cool. We really feel like we're a part of something."

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