Emily Nishikawa is going to Sochi

Dreams do come true. One spanning two decades just did for Whitehorse cross-country skier Emily Nishikawa. She is one of 11 athletes named to Canada’s cross-country ski team.

Dreams do come true.

One spanning two decades just did for Whitehorse cross-country skier Emily Nishikawa.

She is one of 11 athletes named to Canada’s cross-country ski team for the Sochi Olympic Winter Games, Cross Country Canada announced Tuesday morning in Calgary, Alta.

“I’m so thrilled to be on the Olympic team, it’s been a dream of mine since I was a kid,” said Nishikawa. “For it to all come together for me this week, I couldn’t be happier.”

Nishikawa 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. (Yukon has never had a male skier make the Olympics.)

Nishikawa’s spot on the team was far from assured following the final selection races at the Haywood NorAm and Buff Sprints last week in Canmore, Alta.

The 24-year-old killed it in the first distance race of the trials, placing first in the open women’s 10-kilometre on Thursday.

However, she finished the trials with sixth place in the 15-kilometre skiathlon on Sunday.

“I had a very tough day on Sunday, it was not one of my best races,” said Nishikawa. “But because of my performance on Thursday, that was enough to get the spot on the team.”

She had worried that Sunday’s finish might have erased her chances. “That definitely crossed my mind,” said Nishikawa. “So it was a bit of a stressful day, but it all worked out in the end.

“Thursday’s race was a strong race for me and that was enough to get the spot on the team, so I’m just totally thrilled.”

Nishikawa began the Olympic trials with fifth place in the open women’s 1.3-kilometre free sprint last Wednesday.

She secured one of the four spots remaining on the team, with the rest all but guaranteed to Canada’s World Cup skiers before Tuesday’s announcement.

While the announcement no doubt sent the Nishikawa household into celebration mode, on the other side of the coin brother Graham wasn’t on the team list for Sochi.

“Right now I’m just super happy for Emily,” said Graham. “That’s amazing that she had some great races at the trials and was nominated to the team. I’m just ecstatic for her.”

Graham didn’t make the team after placing seventh in the open men’s 15-kilometre classic on Thursday and 11th in the 30-kilometre skiathlon on Sunday. A third place finish in the open men’s 1.7-kilometre free sprint last Wednesday also wasn’t enough to make the team.

“It’s hard to say right now, but it didn’t come together for whatever reason,” said Graham, 30. “I wasn’t at my peak racing ability that I’ve shown in the past. I’m just trying to digest everything right now…

“I can’t go back and change things, but I’m still happy I spent all these years chasing this dream and laid it on the line. It just didn’t happen, that’s just part of life.”

“It definitely is very bitter-sweet,” said Emily. “Graham had a tough week and I would have loved nothing more for both of us to go to Sochi together. But I’m proud of how he raced and I think it’ll all work out. He definitely gave it all he could but just didn’t have the best week of racing.”

Although her brother isn’t going to Sochi, Emily won’t be the only Yukoner there with the ski team.

Cross Country Yukon head coach Alain Masson will be in Sochi on Team Canada.

Masson, who competed at three Olympics in cross-country skiing and cycling, will be at his fourth Games as a wax technician for Canada.

“It’ll be awesome to have Alain there,” said Emily. “He was my coach the whole time I was on the Yukon Ski Team. It’s very exciting.”

Canada’s cross-country team will leave for a training camp in Italy at the end of the week and will compete in a World Cup at Toblach in northern Italy just before the Sochi Games.

The events Nishikawa will compete in at Sochi will be determined as the Games near.

The Sochi Games begin Feb. 7 in Russia.

“It’s so exciting to share this with everyone in the Yukon community and everyone in Whitehorse,” said Emily. “There’s so much support I’m feeling from the Yukon.

“Thanks to everyone who supported my dream over the past 20 years, especially my parents,” she added. “It’s a dream come true.”

Contact Tom Patrick at


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
Yukonomist: The aesthetics and economics of highway strips

One of the many cultural experiences you enjoy while driving from Whitehorse… Continue reading

Artwork by Grade 2 student Faith showing her thanks for everyone.
Artwork by Grade 2 student Faith showing her thanks for everyone. (Submitted)
Yukon kids express gratitude for nature, pets and friends in art campaign

More than 50 children submitted artwork featuring things they are grateful for

Team Yukon skip Laura Eby, left, directs her team as Team Northern Ontario skip Krysta Burns looks on at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts in Calgary on Feb. 22. (Jeff McIntosh/CP)
Team Yukon reports positive experience at Scotties

Team Yukon played their final game at the national championship in Calgary on Thursday afternoon

A sign indicating a drop-off area behind Selkirk Elementary school in Whitehorse on Feb. 25. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
Parking lot proposal for Selkirk Elementary criticized

Parents and school council are raising concerns about green space and traffic woes


Wyatt’s World for Feb. 26, 2021

Tom Ullyett, pictured, is the first Yukoner to receive the Louis St-Laurent Award of Excellence from the Canadian Bar Association for his work as a community builder and mentor in the territory. (Gabrielle Plonka/Yukon News)
Tom Ullyett wins lifetime achievement award from the Canadian Bar Association

Ullyett has worked in the Yukon’s justice ecosystem for 36 years as a public sector lawyer and mentor

The Blood Ties outreach van will now run seven nights a week, thanks to a boost in government funding. Logan Godin, coordinator, and Jesse Whelen, harm reduction counsellor, are seen here on May 12, 2020. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Blood Ties outreach van running seven nights a week with funding boost

The Yukon government is ramping up overdose response, considering safe supply plan

Ranj Pillai speaks to media about business relief programs in Whitehorse on April 1, 2020. The Yukon government announced Feb.25 that it will extend business support programs until September. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Government extends business relief programs to September, launches new loan

“It really gives folks some help with supporting their business with cash flow.”

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
A look at decisions made by Whitehorse City Council this week

Bylaw amendment Whitehorse city council is moving closer with changes to a… Continue reading

Susie Rogan is a veteran musher with 14 years of racing experience and Yukon Journey organizer. (Yukon Journey Facebook)
Yukon Journey mushers begin 255-mile race

Eleven mushers are participating in the race from Pelly Crossing to Whitehorse

Legislative assembly on the last day of the fall sitting in Whitehorse on Nov. 22, 2018. As the legislature prepares to return on March 4, the three parties are continuing to finalize candidates in the territory’s 19 ridings. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Nine new candidates confirmed in Yukon ridings

It has been a busy two weeks as the parties try to firm up candidates

David Malcolm, 40, has been charged with assaulting and attempting to disarm a police officer after an incident in Whitehorse on Feb. 18. (Phil McLachlan/Capital News)
Man resists arrest, assaults officer

A Whitehorse man has been charged with assaulting and attempting to disarm… Continue reading

Yukon Energy in Whitehorse on Aug. 4, 2020. A site on Robert Service Way near the Alaska Highway has been selected as the future home of Yukon Energy’s energy storage project. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Site selected for Yukon Energy battery project

Planned to be in service by the end of 2022

Most Read