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 Follow Empire Sports on Twitter at @akempiresports.

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