It’s a little early, but let me be the first to wish you a happy Emily Nishikawa Day.
February 7, which is the opening day of Sochi Olympic Games, will be Emily Nishikawa’s Olympic Dream Day in Whitehorse, city council announced on Monday.
“We’re extremely proud of her, her brother and her family, coming from Whitehorse and doing so well,” said Whitehorse Mayor Dan Curtis. “We recognize how few people in the world get to that caliber of excellence and we felt it would be irresponsible to not have a shout out to her and just tell her how proud the entire city of Whitehorse, and for that matter the whole Yukon and Canada, are of her and her family for this accomplishment.”
The Whitehorse cross-country skier and soon-to-be Olympian is currently in Italy preparing for her first Olympic Games. Emily Nishikawa’s Olympic Dream Day also happens to fall the day before her first race in Sochi.
“The support I’ve been receiving from Whitehorse is so incredible,” said Nishikawa in an email to the News. “Thanks to everyone – it is so special to share my Olympic journey with my community who has supported me for so long. I couldn’t be more proud to be a Yukoner…
“My first race will be the skiathlon on Feb. 8. I will also do the 10-kilometre classic and 30-kilometre skate and hopefully the relay as well.”
Well over 100 fans of Nishikawa showed their support on Sunday at the Whitehorse Cross Country Ski Club, the birthplace of Nishikawa’s Olympic dream.
Supporters flocked to write well wishes on a banner that reads “Go Emily Nish” that will travel with parents Bob Nishikawa and Joan Stanton to Sochi for the Games.
The Whitehorse club plans to show Emily’s races on a big screen during the Games.
Emily just finished a Team Canada training camp in Seiser Alm, Italy, and is currently in Toblach, Italy, to race in the final World Cup event before the start of the Games.
She will be the first Yukon cross-country skier to compete at the Olympics since Jane Vincent and Lucy Steele at the Albertville Games in 1992.
“We sat around the council table and talked about it and thought it would be a good thing to let her know how much pride she is giving our city,” said Curtis.
“She’s a hero and has already medalled, as far as we’re concerned, just becoming an Olympian.”
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