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

Just Posted

Canada Post rotating strikes hit Whitehorse

Whitehorse postal workers went on strike the morning of Nov. 9

WYATT’S WORLD

Wyatt’s World

Aw, shucks: Wayfarer Oyster House is open for business

Wayfarer Oyster House has its soft opening

Until there’s a traffic light ‘we’re not going to stop’: Hillcrest Community Association president

A petition signed by 22 people was tabled in the legislative assembly on Nov. 8

Striking workers allege assault and threats

Many Rivers workers say their picket line was “stormed”

UPDATED: Yukon Supreme Court Justice Leigh Gower dies unexpectedly

Judge remembered for his balance and diligence, as well as his love for theatre and motorcycles

Twelve months and a strike: Many Rivers workers serve strike notice

Job action is set to start Friday afternoon, when workers will walk off the job

Yukon Premier Sandy Silver discusses carbon pricing plans

The federal backstop will be active in July

About 350 Yukoners are waiting for cataract surgery

The News spoke to one person who has been waiting for almost two years to have the procedure done

New Whitehorse city council sworn in

Councillors say they’re excited to get started on strategic planning

Commentary: Lack of affordable housing in the Yukon is not about funds, but how we spend them

Why are we not building apartment complexes to serve the lower and lower-middle income bracket?

Driving with Jens: When should you plug your vehicle in?

You can probably still start your car without plugging it in at -25 C or colder, but you shouldn’t.

Yukonomist: Too far up the supply curve

Some copper mines come in and out of production as global demand for the metal surges and ebbs.

Most Read