Emily Nishikawa, Dahria Beatty and Knute Johnsgaard, seen here at the 2013 Yukon Cross-Country Ski Championships, were named to the Olympic cross-country skiing team. (Tom Patrick/Yukon News file)

Three Whitehorse skiers named to Olympic team

‘I’m racing at the Olympic Games! My mom will be there watching. It’s already a personal success’

The Canadian Olympic Committee announced the 11 athletes who will compete in cross-country skiing next month in Pyeongchang at the Olympic Winter Games and three hail from Whitehorse.

Knute Johnsgaard, Dahria Beatty and Emily Nishikawa were all named to the team, the COC announced in a press release Jan. 29.

The three skiers earned their places based on World Cup results over the last two years.

Johnsgaard was part of a bronze-medal-winning Canadian men’s relay team last season, meaning a trip to South Korea has been in the cards for a while.

“Excitement is starting to build. I always imagined qualifying for the Olympics would comes as a result of a stressful trials race and getting a phone call two weeks out from the Games,” said Johnsgaard. “Instead, I learned over a year ago now I’d be on the team. The initial excitement had oddly worn off, as the Games seemed so far away. Now, as they’re just around the corner and the full team has been named, it’s definitely becoming more real.”

Asked what would make the Games a success, Johnsgaard had a simple answer.

“I’m racing at the Olympic Games! My mom will be there watching. It’s already a personal success,” said Johnsgaard.

Nishikawa, a veteran of the 2014 Sochi Winter Games, said being named to the team for the second time is an honour, and that her plan is to perform at her very best.

“If I have that type of performance I will be so happy,” said Nishikawa. “No matter where I end up on the results list, it will be a success in my eyes.”

Both Nishikawa and Johnsgaard said the support they receive from the community is special.

“We have so much support from our community and it is something I am very grateful for as I head to my second Olympics,” said Nishikawa.

Johnsgaard said he was “humbled” to be an Olympian and thankful for the support from home.

In the press release, Beatty said her selection has been a life-long goal.

“It is an absolute dream come true to be selected for my first Olympic Games,” she said. “It has been a goal of mine ever since I was a little kid racing. Now that it is finally a reality, I am excited to make the most of the Olympic atmosphere and race my heart out for Canada.”

Other skiers named to the team were Alex Harvey, Devon Kershaw, Lenny Valjas, Jesse Cockney, Graeme Killick, Cendrine Browne, Anne-Marie Comeau and Russell Kennedy.

Harvey, fresh off a silver medal at the latest World Cup event in Seefeld, Austria, said the makeup of the team is a balance of youth and experience.

“We are coming into these Games with a lot of confidence and momentum. We have a good mix of veterans and first time Olympians,” Harvey said in the press release. “Hopefully the girls and young guys can take it all in and learn from us.”

Canada has won three Olympic medals in cross-country skiing — a gold in 2002, and a gold and silver in 2006.

The 2018 Winter Olympic Games will take place in Pyeongchang, South Korea, Feb. 9-25.

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

cross country skiingPyeongchang OlympicsTeam Canada

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

Just Posted

Willow Brewster, a paramedic helping in the COVID-19 drive-thru testing centre, holds a swab used for the COVID-19 test moments before conducting a test with it on Nov. 24. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
An inside look at the COVID-19 drive-thru testing centre

As the active COVID-19 case count grew last week, so too did… Continue reading

Conservation officers search for a black bear in the Riverdale area in Whitehorse on Sept. 17. The Department of Environment intends to purchase 20 semi-automatic AR-10 rifles, despite the inclusion of the weapons in a recently released ban introduced by the federal government, for peace officers, such as conservation officers. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Environment Minister defends purchase of AR-10 rifles for conservation officers

The federal list of banned firearms includes an exception for peace officers

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
Yukonomist: The K-shaped economic recovery and what Yukoners can do about it

It looks like COVID-19 will play the role of Grinch this holiday… Continue reading

Jodie Gibson has been named the 2020 Prospector of the Year by the Yukon Prospectors Association. (Submitted)
Jodie Gibson named 2020 Prospector of the Year

Annual award handed out by the Yukon Prospector’s Association

A number 55 is lit in honour of Travis Adams, who died earlier this year, at the Winter Wonderland Walk at Meadow Lakes Golf Club in Whitehorse on Nov. 24. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
A new take on holiday traditions

Winter Wonderland Walk, virtual Stories with Santa all part of 2020 festive events in Whitehorse

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Help make children’s wishes come true

Black Press Media, BraveFace host mask fundraiser for Make-A-Wish Foundation

Colin McDowell, the director of land management for the Yukon government, pulls lottery tickets at random during a Whistle Bend property lottery in Whitehorse on Sept. 9, 2019. A large amount of lots are becoming available via lottery in Whistle Bend as the neighbourhood enters phase five of development. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Lottery for more than 250 new Whistle Bend lots planned for January 2021

Eight commercial lots are being tendered in additional to residential plots

The Government of Yukon Main Administration Building in Whitehorse on Aug. 21. The Canada Border Services Agency announced Nov. 26 that they have laid charges against six people, including one Government of Yukon employee, connected to immigration fraud that involved forged Yukon government documents. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Charges laid in immigration fraud scheme, warrant out for former Yukon government employee

Permanent residency applications were submitted with fake Yukon government documents

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

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council this week

Karen Wenkebach has been appointed as a judge for the Yukon Supreme Court. (Yukon News file)
New justice appointed

Karen Wenckebach has been appointed as a judge for the Supreme Court… Continue reading

Catherine Constable, the city’s manager of legislative services, speaks at a council and senior management (CASM) meeting about CASM policy in Whitehorse on June 13, 2019. Constable highlighted research showing many municipalities require a lengthy notice period before a delegate can be added to the agenda of a council meeting. Under the current Whitehorse procedures bylaw, residents wanting to register as delegates are asked to do so by 11 a.m. on the Friday ahead of the council meeting. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Changes continue to be contemplated for procedures bylaw

Registration deadline may be altered for delegates

Cody Pederson of the CA Storm walks around LJ’s Sabres player Clay Plume during the ‘A’ division final of the 2019 Yukon Native Hockey Tournament. The 2021 Yukon Native Hockey Tournament, scheduled for March 25 to 28 in Whitehorse next year, was officially cancelled on Nov. 24 in a press release from organizers. (John Hopkins-Hill/Yukon News file)
2021 Yukon Native Hockey Tournament cancelled

The 2021 Yukon Native Hockey Tournament, scheduled for March 25 to 28… Continue reading

Lev Dolgachov/123rf
The Yukon’s Information and Privacy Commissioner stressed the need to safeguard personal information while shopping this holiday season in a press release on Nov. 24.
Information and Privacy Commissioner issues reminder about shopping

The Yukon’s Information and Privacy Commissioner Diane McLeod-McKay stressed the need to… Continue reading

Most Read