Nishikawa sibs bound for world championships

A lifelong dream has come true for two Whitehorse cross-country skiers. Siblings Graham and Emily Nishikawa have been named to Team Canada for the FIS Nordic World Ski Championships in Val di Fiemme, Italy, Feb. 20 to March 3.

A lifelong dream has come true for two Whitehorse cross-country skiers.

Siblings Graham and Emily Nishikawa have been named to Team Canada for the FIS Nordic World Ski Championships in Val di Fiemme, Italy, Feb. 20 to March 3.

The Nishikawas received the news from Cross Country Canada on Tuesday.

“I’m really happy,” said Emily. “I just got the email a little while ago and I’m just thrilled with the news.

“It’s a great honour to get selected for the world championships. I’m really excited about this trip. I think it’s a great opportunity and it’s cool my brother was also selected.”

“I had a good feeling after Sunday’s race that I would get the call,” said Graham. “It’s just nice to have it official.

“I’m super pumped. I’ve been working for this a long time and it feels great.”

Reaching a world championship is a feat accomplished by very few Yukon skiers.

In fact, Graham, 29, is the first male skier from the territory to do it.

“I didn’t know that, but that’s very interesting,” said Graham.

Emily, 23, is the first female Yukoner to make the worlds since Olympian Lucy Steele-Masson competed in 1997.

“It’s the world championships for skiing and that’s what we’ve worked for,” said Graham. “And that Emily gets to go is an amazing bonus, too. I’m so happy for her. She’s worked really hard.”

The Nishikawas, who are members of Canada’s senior developmental team, made the worlds team with medal performances at two sets of trials, in Thunder Bay, Ont., Jan. 3-6 and in Duntroon, Ont., this past weekend.

In Thunder Bay, Emily won gold in two distance races and a bronze in a sprint for senior women, Graham won gold in the senior men’s 30-kilometre classic and placed fourth in two other races.

This past weekend, Graham captured bronze in a classic sprint on Saturday and then gold in the 15-kilometre free with a large 32.7-second lead over the second-place finisher on Sunday.

Emily skied to silver in Saturday’s sprint for open women, but fell ill and missed Sunday’s 10-kilometre free race. Missing Sunday’s race could have cost her a spot Canada’s worlds team if not for her terrific results in Thunder Bay.

“I had been looking forward to that race a long time,” said Emily. “Then I woke up that morning and I definitely had a cold and I wanted to race but my body said no. So I had to sit that one out, which was rough.”

This season looked like it could be the Nishikawas’ best yet from the start.

On the same day, they both had their best international result while skiing at the Alberta World Cup in Canmore this past December.

Facing the best in the world, Graham raced to 15th in the 30-kilometre skiathlon. Graham’s previous best at a world cup was 27th last year in Sweden. (Graham also placed 17th in a world cup in Russia in 2010, but that race only had about 23 entered due to cold weather.)

Emily sped to 34th in the 15-kilometre skiathlon at the Alberta World Cup. She was the top Canadian, ahead of 11 others and just 15 seconds from cracking the top 30.

So what’s making this season such a good one?

“I’m loving the sport right now; I’m having so much fun with it,” said Emily. “I love racing, I love travelling with my teammates and just having a good time with it – I think that makes a big difference.”

“I had a great summer of training and over the years I’ve been improving every year, and I’ve built a solid base,” said Graham. “It took one good race on the World Cup in Canmore for me – I had a total breakthrough when I was 15. After that it gave me the confidence to be right there.”

Emily, Graham and a handful of other Yukon skiers will be competing in the Eastern Canada Championships this weekend in Cantley, Que.

“I’m still a little bit sick, but I’m optimistic that I’ll be able to race this weekend,” said Emily.

Contact Tom Patrick at

tomp@yukon-news.com

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

Just Posted

Premier Sandy Silver, left, and Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley, speak during a live stream in Whitehorse on January 20, about the new swish and gargle COVID-19 tests. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Swish and spit COVID-19 test now available in Yukon

Vaccination efforts continue in Whitehorse and smaller communities in the territory

Local poet Joanna Lilley is photographed at the Beringia Centre in Whitehorse on Jan. 20, where she will be hosting a poetry workshop on Jan. 24. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Poetry for the ages

Workshop set for the Yukon Beringia Centre

President Joe Biden signs executive orders after speaking about the coronavirus, accompanied by Vice President Kamala Harris in the State Dinning Room of the White House on Jan. 21, in Washington, D.C. The administration announced plans Jan. 20 for a temporary moratorium on oil and gas leasing in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge after the Trump administration issued leases in a part of the refuge considered sacred by the Gwich’in. (Alex Brandon/AP)
U.S. President Joe Biden halts oil and gas lease sales in ANWR

“Its great to have an ally in the White House”

asdf
WYATT’S WORLD

Wyatt’s World for Jan. 22, 2021

Children’s performer Claire Ness poses for a photo for the upcoming annual Pivot Festival. “Claire Ness Morning” will be a kid-friendly performance streamed on the morning of Jan. 30. (Photo courtesy Erik Pinkerton Photography)
Pivot Festival provides ‘delight and light’ to a pandemic January

The festival runs Jan. 20 to 30 with virtual and physically distant events

In this illustration, artist-journalist Charles Fripp reveals the human side of tragedy on the Stikine trail to the Klondike in 1898. A man chases his partner around the tent with an axe, while a third man follows, attempting to intervene. (The Daily Graphic/July 27, 1898)
History Hunter: Charles Fripp — gold rush artist

The Alaskan coastal town of Wrangell was ill-equipped for the tide of… Continue reading

A man walks passed the polling place sign at city hall in Whitehorse on Oct. 18, 2018. While Whitehorse Mayor Dan Curtis is now setting his sights on the upcoming territorial election, other members of council are still pondering their election plans for the coming year. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Councillors undecided on election plans

Municipal vote set for Oct. 21

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
City hall, briefly

A look at decicions made by Whitehorse city council this week.

A file photo of grizzly bear along the highway outside Dawson City. Yukon conservation officers euthanized a grizzly bear Jan. 15 that was originally sighted near Braeburn. (Alistair Maitland/Yukon News file)
Male grizzly euthanized near Braeburn

Yukon conservation officers have euthanized a grizzly bear that was originally sighted… Continue reading

Mayor Dan Curtis listens to a councillor on the phone during a city council meeting in Whitehorse on April 14, 2020. Curtis announced Jan. 14 that he intends to seek nomination to be the Yukon Liberal candidate for Whitehorse Centre in the 2021 territorial election. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Whitehorse mayor seeking nomination for territorial election

Whitehorse mayor Dan Curtis is preparing for a run in the upcoming… Continue reading

Gerard Redinger was charged under the <em>Civil Emergency Measures Act</em> with failing to self-isolate and failing to transit through the Yukon in under 24 hours. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
Man ticketed $1,150 at Wolf Creek campground for failing to self-isolate

Gerard Redinger signed a 24-hour transit declaration, ticketed 13 days later

Yukon Energy, Solvest Inc. and Chu Níikwän Development Corporation are calling on the city for a meeting to look at possibilities for separate tax rates or incentives for renewable energy projects. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Tax changes sought for Whitehorse energy projects

Delegates call for separate property tax category for renewable energy projects

Yukon University has added seven members to its board of governors in recent months. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
New members named to Yukon U’s board of governors

Required number of board members now up to 17

Most Read