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AthleteHi, I'm Kikkan Randall, 4x Olympian in cross-country skiing, Alaska girl, "Get-Active"ist and Mom -- Training for the Gold at the Winter Olympics. AMA and pleas ask me what I like on my pizza!

Nov 8th 2017 by Kikkanimal • 10 Questions • 256 Points

My short bio: I'm Helena Oliviero, a features reporter with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution since 2002. I cover lifestyle and human interest stories. For this AMA, I'll be joined by Atlanta employment lawyer Amanda Farahany (http://justiceatwork.com/our-people/amanda-a-farahany-2/) to answer questions about sexual harassment in the work place. We'll start answering questions around 4:30 p.m. today!

My Proof: https://imgur.com/a/GVCVz Here's a link to my writings for more http://www.ajc.com/online/contacts/helena-oliviero/9cN7dEhxe8xTtXTi9GyLlK/

******UPDATE***** Here is the Facebook live answering some of the great questions you folks asked: https://www.facebook.com/myajcatl/videos/1701942433163877/ Expect a full story this weekend.

Q:

I heard pink hair gives unfair and advantage is there any truth to that? (Politely shoves mic in face)

A:

Is sexual harassment a widespread problem in our society? Or is it just in a few industries? And what is the largest barriers to these crimes being reported and the perpetrators being prosecuted?


Q:

Ha ha, nice one! The pink hair does definitely give an extra boost out there! But it also sometimes can ruin white hats ;)

A:

This is Amanda Farahany. Sexual harassment is still a widespread problem in our society. Unfortunately, however, these are considered workplace problems, not crimes, and so they are not ever prosecuted. In the workplace, companies often cover up for the harassers because they are the ones that are high producers for the company.


Q:

Is there really as much sex going on between athletes as what is reported?

A:

Have a lot of questions because I've been fortunate enough to never have witnessed or experienced any sexual harassment in my work place, but I've always wanted to know, why does it take so long for people to report incidents? I want to believe the work place has systems in place to directly protect victims of sexual harassment but maybe it's much more broken than I imagine...


Q:

Always an interesting topic eh?! I've never witnessed it but cross country skiers tend to be pretty focused during the games ;)

A:

This is Amanda Farahany. Reporting is usually very difficult for people, because at first, they believe they can make it stop themselves. Then, they fear for their job and being retaliated against for complaining. Finally, many people don't trust HR to handle the complaint appropriately, and fear that they will not be believed without something more than their word that it happened.


Q:

Kikkan, got to meet you a few years back at the American Birkie. Thanks for doing this AMA. Good luck this season!

How has your training changed before this Olympics to prepare for the classic individual sprint?

A:

It isn't. I used to manage a retail store and if a customer is harassing an employee you can ask them to leave, ban them from the premises, and/or call the police. At one point or another I've done all of the above which was perfectly within my authority.


Q:

The classic sprint is jus tone of the races I'm focusing on. I've been working hard on my classic striding technique and double pole power. But I'm really excited about the freestyle team sprint and the relay!

A:

This is Amanda Farahany. A company is responsible for ensuring that its employees are not harassed - both from other employees and also from customers. Your coworker should think about filing with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and/or talking with an attorney. She also can get unemployment - even if she quit - because she quit for a good reason under the law.


Q:

How any calories do you need each day during prime training? What's the best way to get the calories and what's for dinner?

A:

1) How tough does it get to prove the allegations? Are there any ways for victims to prove the harassment, if it is not recorded?

2) Apart from the Movie industry, what are the other industries where Sexual Harassment is prevalent?

3) Does Movie industry/corporations generally have special wings in HR department which deals with harassment or other such grievances? Is there any mandate on that?


Q:

Great question! During my biggest training days I am burning between 3,000-3,500 calories and I get to eat a lot! I've found the key is lots of snacks and small meals through out the day so that I never go more than 3 hours without eating. Keeps my energy consistent. One of my favorite dinners this summer was halibut taco bowls. I cooked the halibut on the grill with cajun seasoning and combined that with black beans, some brown rice, peppers, onions, spinach and avocado in a big bowl. topped with Salsa. Easy, full of good carbs and protein and delicious!

A:

This is Amanda Farahany. Many people fear coming forward to report harassment because they don't have "proof" or "evidence", but what most people don't realize is that their word is proof and evidence of what happened. A proper investigation by the company will include making credibility determinations about what really occurred. In addition, as we have seen with Harvey Weinstein, harassment is pattern behavior. Even Weinstein started out seeing what he could get away with, and as he was able to get away with it over and over, his behavior became even more outrageous. Looking in to someone's history who harasses will often reveal other victims.


Q:

Yes to tacos! Can you ever just eat like 5 donuts?

A:

With there often being little, if any, direct proof of harassment: how can punishment (termination, sanction, character assassination) be justified when there is a contradictory account by the accused?


Q:

Donuts are my favorite reward food. I don't usually eat 5 in a row but a couple after a big training session are the best!

A:

This is Amanda Farahany. This is why an independent investigation by a neutral third party is so important. There rarely is direct proof of harassment, but a thorough and impartial investigation will uncover what is really going on


Q:

How has your experience on the USST changed as you’ve gone from the only elite female skier on the team often alone on the World Cup to now acting as a leader to a large group of successful women? What is there left in your athletic career that you still want to accomplish other than an Olympic medal?

A:

Have you covered many sexual harassment cases where the harassed was a male?


Q:

I can't believe how fast the last 17 years has gone by. I don't feel like I've changed that much but I am for sure the veteran now. I am a big team person and I love the camaraderie that we have developed on our team. The other girls push me and teach me as much as I do them, so it's constantly evolving!
One of my biggest goals is to help my team win an Olympic medal in the team sprint and 4x5km relay events!

A:

This is Amanda Farahany. I have had a few cases where the harassed was male, but that has typically been male on male harassment. I have had a couple cases where a woman harassed a man, but it has been the rare circumstance


Q:

Kikkan I love watching you and all the other us ski team race! Any pre-race rituals?

A:

This question is for Amanda. What has been your most interesting case?


Q:

As funny as it sounds folding my clothes and getting my room organized has always been a pre-race ritual for me. Now that I have a baby, my routine has expanded to washing out bottles and changing diapers as well!

A:

This is Amanda. Great question - but I have to say my most interesting cases are not fit for publication online! Suffice it to say that despite doing this for almost twenty years, I am still shocked by some of the horrendous ways people are being harassed in the workplace


Q:

Howdy! When do you find out if you will qualify for the team? Thanks for answering.

A:

Do you feel people not directly involved in the #metoo movement are just reposting it just to be part of something? How do you verify legitimacy of harassment cases?


Q:

The Olympic team won't be officially announced until late January. However, if I am able to get a Top 8 result on World Cup or am consistently finishing in the Top 30 on World Cup, then I should have a good idea of how my chances are looking.

A:

This is Amanda Farahany. Harassment cases are verified in lots of different ways, starting from looking at the history of the harasser to looking at the credibility of the victim. Often times, there are indications that someone is telling the truth, such as the victim telling her friends about what's happening as it was happening.


Q:

Where is your favorite place in Alaska?

I was raised in Kodiak and my husband is from the interior, we both lightly argue about where is our favorite place in our home state.

A:

What is appropriate workplace flirtation? In all the talk about combating sexual harassment I rarely hear anyone modeling appropriate sexual behavior.


Q:

This is a tough question because as you know, Alaska is an incredible, large and diverse place!! One of my favorite spots is down near Portage Lake at the far end of Turnagain Arm in the spring time. The snow firms up so hard that you can float on top with your skate skis. You can ski all the way over toward Prince William Sound and right up to Portage Glacier.

A:

This is Amanda Farahany. Just like a lawyer, I'm going to tell you - it depends. If there aren't issues of power dynamics, and the flirtation is welcome, then it's appropriate. On the other hand, if there are power dynamics - then it's going to be a problem if the conduct is unwelcome.


Q:

Is Holmenkollen the best place to race? or is it just somthing we Norwegian like to think?

Also congratz on having the coolest racing team in the world!

A:

IMO modeling acceptable behavior could be more effective than just explaining unacceptable behavior. Do you know if anyone has studied this?


Q:

Racing in Holmenkollen is for sure one of the most exciting places to race. The noise, the fans and the hard courses really make you feel like you're competing on the big stage. We like to call it the "Super Bowl of Nordic Skiing"

A:

Helena here: for me, my favorite part of my job is meeting people and learning about my community. My favorite stories to write are human interest stories, stories about inspiring people in our community. For example this one: http://specials.myajc.com/fixer/


Q:

If there were both a clean-olympics and a doped-olympics (to really push the boundaries of what the human body can achieve), how would steroids and/or other drugs affect your sport? Which winter olympics disciplines would not really be affected by doping?

Do you feel you have an unfair advantage, so to speak, over countries like australia by having more winter weather to train in?

A:

I believe it's possible to be successful in my sport as a clean athlete and clean sport with a level playing field is the only way in which I would want to compete. We still have plenty of human potential to discover as clean athletes.
Different countries have different climate and cultural advantages and that is what makes the sports interesting I think. The Australians have to spend more time away from home than we do, but North Americans also face some challenges with a mostly-European race schedule.


Q:

What is your VO2max? :-)

A:

I've done VO2Max tests about a dozen times but I never got told the actual number. My tests were always compared to previous tests. If I had to guess, I'm probably somewhere in the mid 60's. I think I have a pretty solid VO2Max but one of my biggest strengths is my ability to produce power under a high lactate load.


Q:

Hi, big fan of cross country and I'm really impressed by the US team! I have seen you race a few times in Falun!

What are your top three favorite locations to compete in outside of North America?

Good luck in winter!

A:

I love competing in Norway, Sweden and Finland where the fans are so excited about cross-country skiing. I also love training and competing in Davos, Switzerland when there is good snow and endless tracks!