Kikkan is passionate about inspiring young girls to take up sport and has been working closely with the grassroots charity Fast and Female.
Founded by her friend Chandra Crawford, an Olympic gold medallist from Canada, Kikkan has been growing the programme across the USA.
She has seen first-hand the impact having a role model can have on a young girl’s life in offering support and belief.
I’d love to create an easier path into sport for girls around the world. To challenge stereotypes, I started putting pink in my hair to show people that cross country skiing was a fun, exciting sport and that as a girl I could be strong and fast.
While competing in the World Cup for the USA, I became good friends with Chandra Crawford, an Olympic gold medallist from Canada, and this friendship resulted in my involvement with the charity Fast and Female.
Chandra had started Fast and Female in her home country after finding out that girls are six times more likely to drop out of playing sport than boys. We both knew how important it was for sport to be central in girls’ lives, whether they wanted to be a competitive athlete or simply be healthy and active. Chandra began hosting small events, bringing along her teammates to serve as inspirational role models to young girls. When I heard about the programme, I signed on straight away.
The future is female
Fast and Female is such an exciting, powerful organisation, and one that can do so much good. It’s also a great banner to unite under. I took charge of things in the USA and started organising events around the country.
Focusing on competing meant that at times I wasn’t able to put more energy into the role, but having retired after winning gold at PyeongChang 2018, I’ve been able to focus my efforts much more on this work. We have so many amazing female athlete role models, and I’ve been working closely with them and helping them to connect with the girls in person.
We really do have a tremendous opportunity to grow the programme across the USA and inspire girls to stay in sport. I’ve got some ideas on how I’m going to manage it, but it’s probably going to be busier than I ever could have imagined! I’m just ready for the ride.
The power of the role model
The girls have learned that athletes are not superheroes that were born out of a dinosaur egg somewhere! We grew up the same, facing the same challenges, and we’re here to support the next generation of girls in sport.
I’ve witnessed first-hand the impact just one hour with your role model can do in setting a girl on the right path and encouraging her to enjoy sports and find her self-confidence. It’s something that is so rewarding to see.
I’ve witnessed first-hand the impact just one hour with your role model can do in setting a girl on the right path and encouraging her to enjoy sports and find her self-confidence.