Whitehorse’s Dahria Beatty is one of the 27 athletes that will ski for Canada in Europe this January.
Nordiq Canada announced the roster with a press release on Dec. 18, with the caveat that the roster and schedule are both subject to changes in COVID-19 protocols and restrictions at home and abroad.
The current plan is for Canada’s best cross-country skiers to compete in five World Cup races between January and March, at the FIS Nordic Junior/U23 Cross-Country World Ski Championships in February, and at the FIS Nordic World Ski Championships in February and March.
With no domestic competition to base selections on, an “objective criteria” was created to maximize Canada’s FIS ranking and manage risks associated with the pandemic.
“Our goal is to field a team for targeted events in an effort to achieve the necessary points for Canada to maintain, or improve, the nation rankings that will allow us to secure maximum quota spots for the 2022 Olympic Winter games and the 2021-22 World Cup season,” said Kate Boyd, the high-performance director for Nordiq Canada, in the release.
Athletes competing in the World Cup events include Katherine Stewart-Jones, Beatty, Maya MacIsaac-Jones, Cendrine Browne, Laura Leclair, Antoine Cyr, Phillipe Boucher, Remi Drolet, Pierre Grall-Johnson, Russell Kennedy and Graham Ritchie.
The current plan is for Canadian skiers to race at World Cup events in Lahti, Finland; Falun, Sweden; Ulricehamm, Sweden; Nove Mesto, Czech Republic; and Oslo, Norway.
For the U23 championships, Drolet, Grall-Johnson, Cyr and Ritchie will be joined by Sam Hendry to form the men’s team, and Annika Richardson, Elizabeth Elliott, Hannah Mehain, Benita Peiffer and Shaylynn Loewen will form the women’s team.
Spots at the world championships will be determined based on results at the World Cup and the U23 championships.
Ten skiers will also represent Canada at the junior championships — Jasmine Drolet, Molly Miller, Liliane Gagnon, Anna Pryce, Alexandra Luxmoore, Tom Stephen, Xavier McKeever, Olivier Léveillé, Joe Davies and Félix-Oliver Moreau.
“While we believe it is important to provide competitive race opportunities for all of our athletes, this will not come at all costs,” Boyd said. “If it is not safe, we will be prepared to cancel this portion of the season, but we are optimistic we can get back on the start line.”
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