Emily Nishikawa gets ready to ski during the team sprint on Feb. 20. (Bob Nishikawa/Submitted)

Olympic women’s team sprint showcases Yukon skiers

‘I am proud of how we raced out there’

Cross-country skiing at the Olympics continued on Feb. 21 with the free technique team sprint and Team Canada producing solid results in both the men’s and women’s races.

The men’s team, made up of Len Valjas and Alex Harvey, finished eighth in the final with a time of 16 minutes and 31.86 seconds.

Norway won the event in just under 16 minutes, followed by Olympic Athletes from Russia in second and France in third.

In the women’s race, the United States won gold, followed by Sweden in second and Norway in third.

For Team Canada it was an all-Yukon effort from Emily Nishikawa and Dahria Beatty that narrowly missed out on a spot in the final.

Racing in the faster of the two semifinals, the Canadian women finished just outside the “lucky loser” positions with a time of 17 minutes and 1.54 seconds. Germany was the last to qualify for the finals with a time of 16 minutes and 51.67 seconds.

Canada was the 12th fastest team in the semifinals, despite finishing seventh in their race.

Beatty and Nishikawa both said they were pleased with the race.

“I was really happy with how I skied,” said Beatty. “It was awesome to be in the pack and skiing with the best in the world for my first two laps. I am really proud of how Emily battled out there and never gave up.”

Nishikawa said it was a special experience to race with another Yukoner in the team event.

“I am proud of how we raced out there,” said Nishikawa. “It was so special to be able to race with Dahria and be the two athletes selected for Team Canada. I knew how special it was for us to be racing together representing Yukon and I was incredibly proud.”

Beatty agreed.

“We have raced this race together countless times at Canadian Ski Nationals over the years as Team Yukon,” said Beatty. “Being able to team up and share this experience on the Olympic stage as Team Canada was probably my favourite moment of the Games so far.”

This was Beatty’s last race at the Games, but Nishikawa will be skiing in the 30-km mass start classic race on Feb. 25.

After the Olympics, the World Cup season continues in Europe with stops in Finland, Norway and Sweden.

Contact John Hopkins-Hill at john.hopkinshill@yukon-news.com

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