Fifty-three American women have participated in cross-country skiing in the Winter Olympics between the years of 1972 and 2018. In 2018, forty-six years after the first team competed, Jessie Diggins and Kikkan Randall won Olympic gold in the Team Sprint, in Pyeongchang, South Korea, the first Olympic medal for U.S. women's cross-country skiing. Five decades of women skiers stood up and cheered, celebrating this long-sought-after achievement. This book shares the collective journey of these women Olympians, with the skiers themselves telling the story. Part I combines individual stories along a variety of themes, to collectively demonstrate the challenges of competing against the best in the world. In Part II, virtually every one of the fifty-three wrote her own profile to describe her skiing career and post-Olympic life. Photographs throughout put faces with the stories and add vibrancy to the narrative. The anecdotes in Trail to Gold: The Journey of 53 Women Skiers, paint the picture of women's cross-country skiing over 50 years--a fascinating history recorded in personal heartbreak and triumph and in fun vignettes from life on the trail.
PRAISE FOR TRAIL TO GOLD:
Women's nordic ski racing is enjoying unprecedented success in this country--but that kind of achievement doesn't come from nowhere. This fascinating account, often told in the voices of the athletes themselves, takes us up through the history of this most beautiful and grueling of sports; it is full of lessons for athletes, and indeed for anyone who strives to excel!
-- Bill McKibben, Author, Long Distance: A Year of Living Strenuously
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When Jessie Diggins and Kikkan Randall won the team sprint gold medal at the 2018 PyeongChang Olympic Winter Games, they were quick to credit their team — teammates, coaches, wax techs, physiotherapists, etc. They also were standing on the shoulders of the 51 other U.S. women who had competed in Olympic cross-country skiing since the 1972 Games. Trail to Gold is the story of these women, told in their voices. But it is more than a look at 50+ years of ski history. With personal stories detailing the struggles — from funding and coaching issues to overtraining and eating disorders — as well as the triumphs — like discovering the power of team — it’s a primer for anyone trying to reach the pinnacle of sport, or really any big life goal.
-- Peggy Shinn, Author, World Class: The Making of the U.S. Women’s Cross-Country Ski Team
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"I love that this book features not only the victories, but also the challenges these women faced in their ski journey. It shows the power of coaching, for worse or for better, and team support. After 50 years, the conditions were finally there to show the potential of American women skiers!"
--Bill Koch, first American Olympic medalist in Cross-Country Skiing, (1976); 1982 Overall World Cup winner
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Trail to Gold is a must read for those seeking inspiration. In the highly competitive international sport of cross-country ski racing, Olympic Gold medalists Kikkkan Randall and Jesse Diggins' voyage to the top of the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympic podium provides valuable insights as to how some 53 Olympians over a fifty-year time span fought to open up opportunities for women in a traditionally male dominated and Eurocentric sport.
Their personal stories are instructive as to how each athlete overcame obstacles such as a lack of resources, coaching, recognition and cheating by others on the field of play. Trail to Gold's most valuable insight is how by trial-and error Kikkan and her teammates learned that even in an individual sport where teammates are rivals, leadership, vision, goal setting, finding common ground and teamwork is the key to success.
--Donna de Varona
Double Olympic gold medalist swimming 1964 Tokyo
First President Women’s Sports Foundation
Member EX board USOPC