Anchorage Nordic skier Kikkan Randall will headline the 2019 Pillars of America Speakers Series sponsored by the Juneau Glacier Valley Rotary Club. Randall will speak May 1 at Centennial Hall. (Courtesy Photo | Juneau Glacier Valley Rotary Club)

Anchorage Nordic skier Kikkan Randall will headline the 2019 Pillars of America Speakers Series sponsored by the Juneau Glacier Valley Rotary Club. Randall will speak May 1 at Centennial Hall. (Courtesy Photo | Juneau Glacier Valley Rotary Club)

Olympian Kikkan Randall to give inspirational speech in Juneau

Gold medalist Randall is headlining the upcoming Pillars of America speaker series

One of Alaska’s most compelling athletes will be speaking in Juneau this spring.

Kikkan Randall, an Olympic champion cross-country skier who was recently diagnosed with Stage 2 breast cancer, will speak May 1 at Centennial Hall as part of the annual Pillars of America Speakers Series.

The series, which kicks off April 17, is hosted by the Juneau Glacier Valley Rotary Club to spotlight “distinguished American citizens who share relevant personal experiences shaped by the freedoms offered in our country, or as a result of their endurance through difficult circumstances.”

Randall’s story is undoubtedly well-known to most Alaskans. At the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea, Randall and teammate Jessie Diggins became the first Americans to win a gold medal in cross-country skiing.

But Randall was diagnosed with Stage 2 breast cancer just three months after her crowning acheivement, and has since undergone chemotherapy while continuing to lead a healthy life. Prior to her Olympic glory, Randall won 10 track and cross-country state titles at East Anchorage High School and 17 U.S. Championships in cross-country skiing.

Other Pillar speakers coming to Juneau includes Jesse LeBeau, an undersized basketball talent from Ketchikan who made a name for himself as a streetballer, actor and entertainer. He’s slated to speak April 17. Tony Hoffman, a professional freestyle biker who overcame drug addictions, will speak April 24.

Tickets cost $35, and tickets for all three talks are available at both Hearthside Book locations.


• Contact sports reporter Nolin Ainsworth at 523-2272 or nainsworth@juneauempire.com. Follow Empire Sports on Twitter at @akempiresports.


More in Sports

An infection of dwarf mistletoe has caused the deformation of tree branches, making what is called a witch’s broom. (Photo by Bob Armstrong)
On the Trails: Witch’s brooms and gumboots

Local creatures have often been given the names of early explorers and… Continue reading

The Thunder Mountain High School Falcons girls basketball team comes onto the floor Saturday. (Klas Stolpe / For the Juneau Empire)
Falcons girls soar over North Pole in final home court game at Thunder Mountain High School

Team at top of conference entering playoffs for last time, as merger with JDHS set for next year.

Hydrologist Heather Best rides her fat bike in the White Mountains National Recreation Area north of Fairbanks. (Photo by Ned Rozell)
Alaska Science Forum: Wet overflow a winter hazard in Alaska

While following a snowmachine trail recently, my dog and I came to… Continue reading

As a teenager, shooting hoops was a major stress reliever for the author. (Photo courtesy of Jeff Lund)
I went to the woods: The reward of risk

One of the easiest things for athletes, coaches, former athletes, former coaches… Continue reading

Sapsucker wells on willows attract hummingbirds as well as insects. (Photo by Bob Armstrong)
On the Trails: Willows and the ecosystem

I recently found willow catkins just emerging from their bud covers, getting… Continue reading

Thunder Mountain High School’s Thomas Baxter and Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé’s Alwen Carrillo embrace at their end of Saturday’s game at JDHS that may have been the final local game between the two schools due to a consolidation of them tentatively approved by the school board starting next year. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
In Juneau’s potentially final crosstown basketball showdown, both schools win

TMHS girls and JDHS boys prevail on night filled with dual-school spirit as consolidation looms.

Thunder Mountain High School seniors for the boys’ basketball team, their families and other supporters fill the Thunderdome for a Senior Night recognition before Friday’s game against Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé. It was possibly the final home game for the Falcons team due to a pending decision to put all high school students at JDHS starting with the next school year. The Falcons girls’ team will play their final home games of the season — and possibly ever — next Friday and Saturday against North Pole High School. (Screenshot from NFHS Network)
TMHS boys prevail in possibly their final home game ever against JDHS, with merger of schools pending

Girls play final home games next weekend; both local schools play each other again tonight at JDHS.

Iditarod winner Brent Sass poses for photos with lead dogs Morello, left, and Slater after winning the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race in Nome, Alaska, March 15, 2022. A second musher has been disqualified from the world’s most famous sled dog race. The governing body of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race said in a one-sentence statement late Thursday night, Feb. 22, 2024, that it has withdrawn 2022 champion Brent Sass just days before the start of this year’s race. (Anne Raup/Anchorage Daily News via AP)
Assault claims roil Iditarod sled dog race as 2 top mushers are disqualified, then 1 reinstated

Claims of violence against women are roiling the world’s most famous sled… Continue reading

Forest Wagner visits Kanuti Hot Springs, located in Interior Alaska not far from the Arctic Circle. (Photo by Ned Rozell)
Alaska Science Forum: Alaska hot springs, far and wide

After a few hours of skiing through deep snow, Forest Wagner and… Continue reading

Most Read