Nishikawas to be the first recipients of keys to the city

Whitehorse's Nishikawa siblings have won the keys to our hearts, and now they will soon have the key to the city.

Whitehorse’s Nishikawa siblings have won the keys to our hearts, and now they will soon have the key to the city.

Cross-country skiers Graham and Emily Nishikawa will receive the key to the city, it was decided in city council on Tuesday.

“That’s an incredible honour and I’m totally speechless,” said Graham, soon after hearing the news. “Emily and I had a great year. She went to the Olympics and I was at the Paralympics, helping Brian McKeever, and it was all such a whirlwind year and season.”

“I was super honoured,” said Emily. “I just heard about it today, so I didn’t have too much information on it, but it’s a huge honour …

“We’re so proud to be from such a great city.”

The Nishikawas, who were born in Whitehorse, will be the first recipients in Whitehorse history. City council had only created the city program a little over a week before Tuesday’s decision.

The motion to award the Nishikawas was tabled by deputy mayor Mike Gladish.

“The underline current he was thinking was that the Nishikawas have done so much to recognize what a great community and territory we live in that has received international exposure in a positive light, and they are real role models,” said Whitehorse mayor Dan Curtis. “We felt nothing we had in the city would be adequate to tell them and showcase how much pride our community feels towards their accomplishments.

“The keys to the city seemed like the most significant thing we could do … We felt anyone who does something so extraordinarily significant should be recognized.”

The Nishikawas have been doing Yukon proud for many years, but this past season was extra special.

Emily was the first Yukon skier to compete at the Olympics since 1992 when she represented Canada in Sochi earlier this year. She led the Canadian team in two races in Sochi, topping out with a 42nd place finish in the 15-kilometre skiathlon.

Graham wore Canada red and white as a guide for visually impaired skier Brian McKeever at the Paralypic Games in Sochi, helping McKeever win three gold medals. Graham was McKeever’s primary guide in the sprint and was back up for McKeever’s other two races.

“We’re over the moon proud of them,” said Curtis. “We’re just ecstatic they had this success and continue to enjoy the success. They are fantastic ambassadors to Canada and Yukon and in particular for Whitehorse.”

The two national developmental team members, who also competed at the world championships last year, capped the season with great performances at the Haywood Ski Nationals – the Canadian championships – in Corner Brook, NL.

Emily won two gold and a silver and placed second in aggregate open women.

Graham won a gold, silver and bronze and placed second in the aggregate standings for open men.

Those results helped the Whitehorse Cross Country Ski Club place second out of 59 clubs in the club aggregate standings. With the help of the Nishikawas the Whitehorse club also set a high water mark in hardware with 19 medals.

“It was an incredible nationals for the whole Whitehorse club,” said Emily. “To come away with a record amount of medals is really cool and to see so many of the up-and-comers doing so well is so inspiring.

“I had a pretty good week myself.”

At the nationals Graham showed even jetlag can’t slow him down much.

“I got off the plane at two in the morning and raced the following day at one in the afternoon, had a bunch of coffee, had no expectation, and ended up with a silver medal,” said Graham. “I was pretty happy with that. Two days later I ended up winning the sprint race and a national championship – I couldn’t really believe I did that.”

The Nishikawas will receive the key to the city in a ceremony tentatively planned for May 5 at Whitehorse’s city council chambers.

“Thank you to the city for awarding us with this, and thanks to everyone for making this season so special for both Graham and I,” 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

Wyatt's World for Oct. 28, 2020.
WYATT’S WORLD

Wyatt’s World for Oct. 28.… Continue reading

Yukon Child Care Board chair Amy Ryder says the board could be playing a bigger role in childcare policy making if they had more financial support from the Yukon government. (Submitted)
Yukon Child Care Board asks for larger role in annual report

The board is asking for a larger budget to increase outreach and advice

Yukon’s clocks will no longer change in March and November but will remain permanently on Pacific Daylight Saving Time. (Courtesy Yukon government)
Off the clock: Yukon prepares to end seasonal time changes

Starting on Nov. 1 Yukon will be one hour ahead of Vancouver and two hours ahead of Alaska

Dawson City as scene from West Dawson. Art Webster, the vice-chair of the Dawson Regional Planning Commission resigned last month over the Yukon governments unwillingness to pause speculative staking. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
Vice-chair resigns from Dawson land-use planning commission

NDP warns that not pausing mining activity is the road to a second Peel decision

The opening ceremonies of the Canada Summer Games in Winnipeg on July 28, 2017. The 2021 Canada Summer Games have officially been rescheduled for Aug. 6 to 21, 2022, exactly one year from the date the national competition was originally set to take place in the Niagara region of Ontario. (Canada Summer Games/Flickr)
Canada Summer Games dates set for 2022 but uncertainty remains for Yukon athletes

Yukon athletes continue waiting to get back into schools

A proposed Official Community Plan amendment would designate a 56.3 hectare piece of land in Whistle Bend currently designated as green space, as urban residential use. Whitehorse city council passed first reading on a bylaw for the designation change at its Oct. 26 meeting, prompting an upcoming public hearing on Nov. 23 ahead of second reading on Dec. 7. (Courtesy City of Whitehorse)
Local contractors will be given an advantage on a contract for the design and construction services that will see a new reception building at Robert Service Campground decided city councillors during the Oct. 26 council meeting. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Local firms will get advantage on contract for new Robert Service Campground building

Yukon-based companies competing for contract for new reception building will receive 20 extra points

Fallen trees due to strong winds are seen leaning on to power lines which caused some power outages around the territory on Oct. 26. (Courtesy of ATCO)
Wind knocks out power around the Yukon

High winds on Oct. 26 knocked out power to Faro, parts of Whitehorse and beyond

The Yukon government is asking for all claims in a lawsuit over the Takhini elk herd be struck by the court. (Mike Thomas/Yukon News file)
Yukon government asks for Takhini elk lawsuit to be struck

The Yukon government is asking for all claims in a lawsuit over… Continue reading

The Yukon government has filed a reply to an outfitter’s petition challenging the reduction of its caribou quota to zero. (Yukon News file)
YG replies to outfitter’s legal challenge over caribou quota

The Yukon government has filed a reply to an outfitter’s petition challenging… Continue reading

The Yukon government is encouraging people to get the flu vaccine this year, saying that with COVID-19, it’s “more important than ever.” (Black Press file)
Get flu vaccine, Yukon government urges

The Yukon government is encouraging people to get the flu vaccine this… Continue reading

Benjamin Munn, 12, watches the HPV vaccine in 2013. Beginning Jan. 1, 2021, the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine will be available to all Yukoners up to, and including, age 26. Currently the program is only available to girls ages nine to 18 and boys ages nine to 14. (Dan Bates/Black Press file)
HPV vaccine will be available to Yukoners up to, including, age 26

Beginning Jan. 1, 2021, the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine will be available… Continue reading

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

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council this week

Most Read